Thank you for signing up for "Introduction to Backpacking", Sierra Club trip #12125A

Francy Rubin, the other leader, and I will do everything we can to help you have a comfortable, safe and enjoyable hiking outing.
I will be calling you in the next week or so to see if you have any questions. Let me know the best time to reach you.

Forms - Approval:
When you signed up you should have gotten an email with web links to three forms: 1. Medical, 2. Liability Release and 3. Approval. You need to get those back to me so I can officially approve you for the trip. I'll be in contact with you when I receive your approval forms. Please don't make any travel arrangements until hear from me (Trips can be cancelled if there are not enough signups). Be sure to contact me if you have any questions.

Here is some introductory information.
I will be sending several more bulletins as we get closer to the trip date.

We will spend time between the Clair Tappaan Lodge and camping at several mountain lakes with a trip back to the lodge in between. Hikes will be moderate, 3-5 miles each way with 500 to 1,000 ft. elevation gain.

The main problems on previous trips has been conditioning (It's no fun if you are constantly struggling to keep up with the group - See preparation below.) and blisters (see boots below).

The large items you will need are a backpack, tent and sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you once you are accepted on the trip.

We strongly recommend that you consider borrowing or renting a backpacking tent and a backpack (make sure it fits) instead of purchasing these items. If you do not have a tent, notify the leader, as other participants on the trip may be willing to share.
There are links to websites and books with guidelines for selecting tents and backpacks on my website listed below.

The main thing you need to consider now is your boots. You'll be much happier if they're well broken in BEFORE the trip. You won't need heavy-duty hard-core stiff all-leather boots - nylon uppers are fine. However, high-top boots are required because you will be carrying loads over rough terrain and possibly thru some snow. (Yes, the last two years there has been snow on the ground in July).


I encourage you to begin a consistent training program to prepare for the hiking now. Keep in mind that the elevation of Clair Tappaan Lodge is 7200 ft. and if there's any way you can hike at altitude before coming it will prove helpful. At any rate, go on hikes, climb stairs, walk, bicycle -- anything that gets you moving and your heart rate up is beneficial. Treadmills and stairmasters are good to a point, but it is important to spend time walking on uneven terrain to simulate a mountain trail. Both uphill and downhill are important as they use different muscle groups. Don't worry about the degree of strenuousness involved. Even if you walk 4 to 5 miles a day, allow at least 3 to 4 weeks to train (If you're new to exercise, you'll need 6 to 8 weeks).

Getting there:
Plan to meet in the Clair Tappaan Library at 4:00pm Sunday afternoon for a happy hour and introductions. Allow about 2 1/2 hours from the Reno airport to pick up your luggage, get to the Lodge and check in.
My transportation notes at: will give you some ideas on transportation from the airport.

I have a web site where I post copies of the bulletins I send out and information about the Clair Tappaan Lodge and Donner-Tahoe area at:

In future correspondence to the group I'd like to share participant's e-mail addresses so they can arrange ride sharing from the airport or compare notes. If you'd rather I not share your e-mail please let me know.
I will also share cell phone numbers and Facebook links if you want to provide those.

Don't hesitate to call if you have any questions. I am retired, so you can call anytime 8 AM-11 PM EST (732) 560-0369.

Note: You may see several email addresses for me, they all go to the same place, so you can reply to any of them. See

last updated 30 Dec 2011