Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - yosemite national park-campfire chic

Weekend Adventure: Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip

Alex and I secured permits for our almost-annual Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip in March and Josh and Amie from California Through my Lens decided to join us for a long weekend in Yosemite’s backcountry.

We made our way up to Mammoth Lakes, California late Friday afternoon. We got in around 10:00 p.m. and even though I was bummed we didn’t get to spend more time in one of my favorite places in the world, the familiar smell in the air as we opened the doors at our motel for the night had me at ease. It was a longer than usual drive to Mammoth thanks to traffic and I was tense from the time spent in the car, but one deep breath of fresh Mammoth air had me the most relaxed I had been in weeks.

Day 1: Getting to Camp

I hadn’t been sleeping well that week and that night was no exception. I gave up around 6:00 in the morning and walked to Stellar Brew for our first round of drinks and breakfast burritos. We told our friends we would meet them at 7:45 at the cafe to discuss our plan for the day, but I wanted a walk in the cold air and to have some time to let my burrito settle before heading into Yosemite for a long weekend.

The plan: get into Yosemite National Park and get our permits before 10:00 a.m. and get to the trailhead by 11:00 a.m.

We were on the trail at a great time and the weather was perfect for our adventure. The water levels were very low to non-existent along the trail, but the views were still impressive. Alex and I have only backpacked in this area in July, so a difference of two months is noticeable.

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - Kam of Campfire Chic - Backpacking with Teton Sports Ultralight Backpack

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - Glen Aulin Hiking Trail in Yosemite National Parks - Campfire Chic

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - Hiking to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp and Backpackers Campground - Campfire Chic

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - Hiking to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp - Campfire Chic

Time from trailhead to camp: 3 1/2 hours. We didn’t stop for a proper lunch but there were plenty of short breaks for photos and time-lapse videos.

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - backpackers campground in yosemite national park-campfire-chic

We set up camp away from the high sierra camp and Josh found a great tree for his hammock. Our campsite was big and there weren’t many people staying in the campground so we were able to spread out a bit. The views we had were great and we could tell that sunset was going to be amazing. Alex decided he wanted an extra photo and took a bit of walk to the other side of the cliff and zoomed in a bit to take the photo above to show off our kickbutt camping spot.

We spent some time down by the waterfall (I washed a lot of trail dust from my legs and face in the ice cold water) before making dinner and setting ourselves up on a cliff above the camp to catch the beautiful sunset.

Glen Aulin Backpacking Trip - sunset at glen aulin high sierra camp in yosemite national park campfire chic

Day Two: A Very Active Rest Day

Sunday was our rest day. We got up at a leisurely time and decided to head out on a 6-mile hike to the Waterwheel waterfalls.

It ended up be a lot more hiking than I expected and we got caught in a wonderful afternoon thunderstorm. The upside? We ended up having a cloudless sky in time for dinner and another beautiful sunset!

I will share more about the Waterwheel hike in a future post.

glen aulin backpacking trip to the high sierra camp backpackers campground sunset view-campfire chic

The weather cleared up before dinner and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky by the time the sun set.

Day 3 – Packing Up and Getting Fries

Packing up the next morning was slow but once the sun made it to our campsite, we were ready to go. We were in the last group of hikers to leave the campground that morning. Many hikers were continuing their journey to different campgrounds and others (like us) were returning to the trailhead and home. We didn’t run into many dayhikers until we were about a mile and a half from the trailhead.

glen aulin backpacking trip with a girl in the wild on instagram

It took about 3 1/2 hours to get back to our cars because I needed to take some extra breaks at the start…there is just so many stairs! I could power up a few switchbacks but quickly burned out. We had a good constant pace and the group was good about stopping at important junctions of the trail to make sure we were all in one piece.

That morning we discussed stopping for lunch at the world famous Whoa Nellie Deli. We knew Alex and Amie would need to order the famous fish tacos and Josh and I were up to the challenge of ordering something delicious when we arrived. Knowing that french fries were in my future helped me power through the hike and get to the car quickly.

Alex and Amie got the fish tacos, Josh got a grilled chicken sandwich and added bacon, and I went all in with a bacon cheeseburger and fries with a Pepsi. We ran into each other again in Bishop at The Looney Bean, which is a favorite stop of ours, and we split up a the last McDonald’s on the route before we headed into the desert…Josh and Amie love the $1 iced tea!

You can watch our trip in Josh’s video on YouTube!

The best thing I did was pack a hot/cold reuseable bag with some snacks to stow in the bear lockers at the trailhead. I left a gatorade and some nectarines in there, which were nice and cold when we returned a few days later. Plan to not have very much space in the bear lockers and be considerate of other trail users by not having too much to stow in there. You do want to remove anything from your vehicle that has a smell including wrappers, fruit peels, and lip balm. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

You can find Josh and Amie’s adventures on California Through My Lens, Josh’s Instagram, and Amie’s Instagram.

This wasn’t our first time heading to Glen Aulin:




in Active, Adventure, Backpacking, California, Camping, Hiking, National Park, National Parks

After seeing Carrot Quinn was interviewed on Nicole Antionette’s Real Talk Radio podcast, I ordered Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart right away.

Thru-Hiking WIll Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn - Book Review by Kam of Campfire Chic

Book Reivew: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn

I should start by saying that I haven’t listened to the podcast episode yet. It was honestly one of those moments where a blogger/podcaster/human on the internet who I think has good taste said, “hey this is cool!” and I’m over here throwing my money at whatever it is…and I’m glad I did.

I wasn’t following Carrot online at the time and I didn’t read the synopsis before hitting the ‘buy now’ button, but I had a feeling I would like this book. I read I Hike and  A Walk in the Woods and have watched several documentaries put together by thru-hikers (including Embrace the Brutality by Jester), so I kind of knew what to expect when it came to reading about hiking long distances, the common stops along the Pacific Crest Trail, and the lingo that came up in the book. I’m the ideal audience for this book.

In this book you’ll follow Carrot her trailer in Portland, Oregon to the trailhead of the Pacific Crest Trail. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience with long distance hiking, let alone going on a months-long adventure on her own. She has some trouble along the way, learns how to take better care of her feet, starts calling her sleeping quilt her “fluffer puff,” and eats the amount of ice cream coach potatoes like us can only dream of. She doesn’t hold back in her descriptions and keeps it real: thru-hiking isn’t easy and isn’t for the faint of heart.

Don’t read this book if you’re looking for an elaborate story about some romantic version of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. This isn’t about a woman who intentionally goes looking for companionship as she walks from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. This isn’t about somebody showing up at Carrot’s tent with flowers and asking her out for a date. There’s some snuggling, that’s for sure, but don’t expect romantic love to be a heavy theme throughout the book.

Read this book if you ever considered disconnecting from the world for a few months and being a way more prepared version of Wild as you take on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Read this book if you like reading journal entry style books and want to hear about a hike that takes months to complete. It’s a modern day adventure that you can feasibly tackle! In fact, it inspired podcast host Nicole Antionette to solo hike the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, which after reading Carrot’s book sounds like the part of the trail that I would would like to hike the most.

Honestly, just read this book. If you like hearing about the adventures of your favorite Instagrammers (or even just me!) and want to dive into a story about leaving behind your life and living out of a backpack for a few months, this is for you. If you ever find yourself looking up ways to lighten your backpack for hikes and how to train to be a better hiker, this is for you.

Can you tell I liked it? I will admit that it took a few days for me to get into the story, but as soon as Carrot got to the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off event, I was hooked. Why? Because I was there the same year that Carrot was there! She mentions getting new socks and I whispered out loud, “what if I was the one who gave her those socks??” and I recognized one or two of the hikers she described meeting along the trail from the event. I was so in.

Buy Thru-Hiking will Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn on Amazon

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may result in a commission for me at no extra cost for you! This helps me buy more books to review, products to test out, and buy scrapbooking supplies. If you’re not into affiliate links, feel free to search the title of the book using year favorite search engine. 

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in Adventure, Books, Review

I am working on updating the Adventure and Travel Book page here on Campfire Chic and wanted to highlight some of the outdoor adventure books I have on my bedside table and in my to-be-read pile. I’m calling this my Fall 2016 Outdoor and Adventure Reading List in hopes to trick myself into actually finishing these books at some point. I would like to read them before December 1st, but we’ll see how that goes.

My Fall 2016 Outdoor Adventure Books Reading List

 Outdoor Adventure Books - Campfire Chic

Funny Shit in the Woods (and other stories) by Brendan Leonard

Brendan writes one of my favorite blogs,, and this book is a collection of the best stories featured on his site. This is a great book to have on hand when you need to laugh or to share with friends when they think you’re crazy as you chat excitedly about your upcoming backpacking trip as you methodically disguise your toilet paper bag with Hello Kitty themed duct tape. Paperback / Kindle

Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts

I may have mentioned this book here before, but it’s a review book that I started but abandoned for a biography I was reading at the time. Now that I’m almost done with Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart (see below) I think this will be my next book. The John Muir Trail, or JMT, is near part of the Pacific Crest Trail and goes from Mount Whitney to Yosemite Valley and can be done in a few weeks time. It sounds like it will be a little like Wild as far as an unprepared young woman heading out on a thru-hike and writing a book about it. (Review Copy) Paperback / Kindle

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy (Volume 1) written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis

Actually, I need Volume 2 Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max (and all the ones after that). I really really really liked this introduction to the series. It follows the adventures of 5 fast friends who are attending a summer camp for badass lady types. The book looks like it is in a scout handbook, which is super clever. They fight monsters and have real problems like really needing to pee and trying to obey your camp counselor even though you just want to save the day. Paperback/Kindle

Bishop Area Rock Climbs: The Climbing Guide to the Eastern Sierra – South by Peter Croft and Marty Lewis

This book is a classic resource for anybody looking to climb in the Eastern Sierras. This isn’t exactly a book to be read from cover to cover (although, I bet some people do). My hope is I read this as I’m on my way to Bishop or another climbing location this fall. After climbing in Bishop this spring, all I want to do is get back out there and climb some more. I suggest purchasing this book at a guide shop/local shop when you get into town, but it is available on Amazon.

The Rock Climber’s Training Manual: A Guide to Continuous Improvement by Michael L. Anderson and Mark L. Anderson

While the answer to “how do I train to be better at rock climbing?” is “climb more,” the one resource I see recommended over and over again is this training manual. It’s written like an honest to goodness textbook. The authors include the science behind their training recommendations, include information on topics like nutrition, and encourage you to avoid just jumping into your training regimen without forming goals and understanding how to train to reach those goals. This is the type of book I read during my undergrad (I have a B.S. in Kinesiology) and I love that this doesn’t include a one-size-fits-all training program. Buy this on their website instead of other options because you’ll get a better deal and because their website does a better job of detailing what is included in this book.

Clear to Lift by Anne A. Wilson

This is not like the other books included on the Adventure and Travel Book page, this one is a novel. It looks like this book is based on the author’s experiences as a search-and-rescue pilot specializing in high-altitude technical mountain rescue. It’s based in California’s Sierra Nevada and the author knows her stuff. She served nine years as an active duty U.S. Navy helicopter pilot. (Review copy) Hardcover/Kindle

Sixty Meters to Anywhere by Brendan Leonard

From substance abuse treatment to journalism degree, Brendan Leonard talks about how a climbing rope (sixty meters in length) from his brother helped him change his life. Yes, this is the second book by Brendan on this list, but after you read some of his posts on, you’ll know why it’s easy to want to read everything he writes. He also shares handdrawn charts, graphs, and notes on his Instagram, which are funny because they’re true.  Paperback/Kindle

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn

I should be finishing this one any day now! I enjoy reading it as a way to relax at the end of the day. I’m not going to write much here because I plan on writing a review post. What I will say: if you like reading travel journals you’ll like this book. Like Almost Somewhere, this is based in California but on the Pacific Crest Trail. This is less about how to hike the PCT and more about what it’s like being on the trail day in and day out. The information you should have before stepping on the trail is there, but it’s not written like a dry text. Paperback/Kindle

Find more adventure and travel related books and guides to add to your reading list

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in Books

Roundup of helpful articles, blog posts, and videos from around the net

As you already know, I love a good list!

I’m so glad to be starting out September’s edition of 30 Days of Lists with an awesome group of Listers. There are a bunch of long-time Listers and quite a few first-time Listers! I love how September still feels like a “fresh start” month thanks to all those years of being in school (back when school started after Labor Day!) and having a creative project to “warm up” for holiday crafting really means a lot to me.

It also means a lot to me to have some notes about my life right now in case I never get around to catching up on my scrapbooking. I’m not disciplined enough to keep a daily journal or diary, so having a set of lists 3 times a year to look back on is very special to me. This is the 15th edition of 30 Days of Lists and there is still time to join us. Register here. 

This Week’s Essential Reading


in Essential Reading

Happy September!

There is a slight hint that Fall is in the air, but I’m not fooled. September is notoriously hot in Southern California, but it’s nice to pretend that it’s boot weather now that the calendar is flipped.

One thing I can count on is a new edition of 30 Days of Lists.

30 Days of Lists starts today and it’s going to be a great season! If you signed up already, be sure to head over to the private site (info is in the registration PDF you downloaded upon registration). If you haven’t joined us, now is the time! This challenge is all you and there’s no wrong way to make a list.

Instagram is a great way to get an idea of what #30Lists is all about, so here are some of the images we shared on our @30daysoflists account recently:

S16 30 Days of Lists - Instagram Grid
S16 30 Days of Lists Instagram Grid 2



in 30 Days of Lists