John Muir’s Daughters – III (Lottery)

When I win the lottery
Gonna buy all the girls on my block
Color TV and a bottle of French perfume
When I win the lottery
Gonna donate half my money to the city
So they have to name a street or a school or a park after me
When I win the lottery

-Lyrics by Camper Van Beethoven


I understand basic math, so I don’t spend my precious dollars on the lottery. However, hiking lotteries are a different story with slightly better odds. Still not great, but possible. Besides, you don’t have to pay anything unless you actually win, and then it’s only $15 for each person in your group.

I think it’s a shame we can’t just go out and hike whenever and wherever we want to. Hiking should be about freedom, but the demand is so great that the trails simply can not sustain that amount of traffic. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I go hiking hoping to get away from the crowds. Therefore, I understand and accept the necessity of lotteries.

In 2014, I won! I scored a Saturday in July in the Mount Whitney trail lottery. Pretty fantastic luck, considering the numbers. I don’t recall exactly what they were that year, but in 2016 there were 13,638 applications requesting space for 64,939 people to climb the mountain.  Only 100 day hikers and 60 backpackers are allowed each day.


(Me, Erin, and our friend Michelle – Mt. Whitney 2014)


(Me on the backside of Mt. Whitney and a view of the back country)

Getting picked out of such a large lottery might sound hopeless, but there are ways to increase your odds.  I don’t want to divulge all my secrets. I will say that being flexible in your days and point of origin definitely increases your chance of getting something.

I am relying on Erin to win this lottery, and if the lottery gods don’t result in our favor?  I have plan B, (which I’ll discuss in an upcoming blog). But . . . you guessed it. It involves yet another lottery.

When people ask me if I have any vacation plans, I simply answer, “It all depends on if I win the lottery” wWich they interpret as buying lotto tickets – a helluva’ way to plan your future. So I don’t exactly know what adventure I’ll have this summer, but I am sure  we are going to backpack somewhere in the Sierras, and it’s going to be awesome.










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