A Postcard From The Golden Trout Wilderness (aka Yes, You Can!)

When I wrote this post on Instagram, I dedicated it to the ladies in the purple shirts. The reference comes from the a discussion of “before” pictures, in particular the one at the very bottom of this post. Jayme coined the term. Shelley posted a picture in a purple shirt and off we went.

I call this one, “Yes, you can!” and it blows my mind.

I am holding a shirt, my own shirt from a year ago, looking out at the Golden Trout Wilderness from the lookout tower at Jordan Peak here in the southern Sierra. Holding the shirt (and seeing the photo) almost blows my mind but the real mind-blowing moment happened on the drive from the lookout tower.

If you’ve followed my weight loss story, you know my motivation to lose weight came out of desperation to hike with my son. He was 15, now 16, about to fly out of my nest, and I was limping around driving him to trailheads when I wanted nothing more than to hike with him.

We live in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, adjacent to the Golden Trout Wilderness and home to a prized destination on Frederick’s list: Maggie and Summit Lakes. It is 9 miles in. Maggie Lakes makes a great base camp to hike to Summit Lakes. I know now that with the weight loss I can get to Summit Lakes with him. We will do it. This is exciting, to be sure, but it is just background on the mind-blowing moment.

We stopped by the pack station above Quaking Aspen to ask about mule support to Maggie Lakes. We met Greg and Johnny. (If my 9-year-old is going with us, we need supply help.)

As we spoke, I thought to ask, “We keep talking about Maggie Lakes, but are we missing something obvious? What is the best destination up here?”

“Coyote Lakes!” Greg said, “But you need to ride up. The last ascent is quite steep. If you don’t have riding experience, you’ll be in a world of hurt, so you need to be prepared.”

Frederick and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing: Thigh burn is far better than rump burn. If a horse could walk in, so could we.

I came home and looked through my photos, thinking carefully about Maggie, Summit, and Coyote Lakes.

Coyote Lakes??!!?! Coyote Lakes is deep in the Golden Trout Wilderness, offering expansive views of the southern Sierra, a location few people will ever see. It is remote and requires real physical condition, time, and determination. I

A hike to Coyote Lakes is exactly the kind of hike I have never, ever in my life considered doing, until this moment.

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(I dedicate this post to the ladies in the purple shirts.) I call this one, “Yes, I can!” and it blows my mind. I am holding a shirt, my own shirt from a year ago, looking out at the #GoldenTroutWilderness from the lookout tower at Jordan Peak here in the southern #sierra. Holding the shirt (and seeing the photo) almost blows my mind but the real mind-blowing moment happened on the drive from the lookout tower. If you’ve followed my #weightloss story, you know my motivation to lose weight came out of desperation to hike with my son. He was 15, now 16, about to fly out of my nest, and I was limping around driving him to trailheads when I wanted nothing more than to hike with him. We live in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, adjacent to the Golden Trout Wilderness and home to a prized destination on Frederick’s list: Maggie and Summit Lakes. It is 9 miles in. Maggie Lakes makes a great base camp to hike to Summit Lakes. I know now that with the weight loss I can get to Summit Lakes with him. We will do it. This is exciting, to be sure, but it is just background on the mind-blowing moment. We stopped by the pack station above Quaking Aspen to ask about mule support to Maggie and met Greg and Johnny. (If my 9-year-old is going with us, we need supply help.) As we spoke, I thought to ask, “We keep talking about Maggie Lakes, but are we missing something obvious? What is the best destination up here?” “Coyote Lakes!” Greg said, “But you need to ride up. The last ascent is quite steep. If you don’t have riding experience, you’ll be in a world of hurt, so you need to be prepared.” Frederick and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing: Thigh burn is far better than rump burn. If a horse could walk in, so could we. I came home and looked through my photos, thinking carefully about Maggie, Summit, and Coyote Lakes. Coyote Lakes??!!?! Coyote Lakes is deep in the Golden Trout Wilderness, offering expansive views of the southern Sierra, a location few people will ever see. It is remote and requires real physical condition, time, and determination. It is exactly the kind of hike I have never, ever in my life considered doing, until this moment.

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It’s easy to forget the reasons for the desperation and resulting life changes. In the Eat Like A Bear group on Facebook, Jayme reminded me this week that a year ago the person here in the purple shirt at Dragon’s Mouth in #Yellowstone was (1) fighting like hell to walk and (2) had a deep longing to #hike with her sons. #thatswy On the same day as Jayme’s message, I was cleaning my house and found the pants I was wearing in this photo. I think I gave the shirt away months ago but I found another. The pants really did help me remember the desperation, the fight, and the determination. I guess I did work pretty damned hard for all of this and so I packed up a cooler and we are headed out to hike. I’ll catch you later!

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About the Author Amanda Rose, Ph.D.

Amanda Rose, Ph.D. lives in the Giant Sequoia National Monument with her husband and two sons. She founded the Eat Like A Bear website to support the awesomely inspiring community on Facebook, Eat Like A Bear!

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