Monday, August 26, 2013

Backpacking is a Community Experience

To quote Annette, “Backpacking is a community experience.”  We each committed to carrying on our back everything we needed to survive several days, as we backpacked into unfamiliar territory with people we didn’t know well, if at all.  She was right; we were a community, we were there for each other, not only enjoying our adventures together, but, depending on one another to get the work done.  We came together in this community to support MPN research.  We were there to support Annette.  It turns out, she supported us.  Whenever someone was lagging behind or nervous or just needed a little support or understanding, Annette was there.  Numb toes, scratched legs, extra weight, holding a friend in need, cooking for a crowd, watching after little ones… Annette was there for us, keeping our community connected.   She taught us an appreciation of the wilderness and of community as well as charity.  She taught me to accept my day, with its challenges and its rewards.  She is a true inspiration to those with blood cancer and those without.  

Here's a peek into Segment 5 and family camp...


Saturday, August 3, 2013


Our family has been lucky enough to take part in the amazing “Trek For A Cure”.  

THE TREK has become so much more then hiking in the incredibly strikingly beautiful Sierra Nevada. It has become more than a personal cause, a great cause, an important cause.  

THE TREK has become a place where people are pushed out of their comfort zone, mentally, emotionally and physically only to find out what they are capable of and to feel a great sense of accomplishment.  THE TREK is somewhere where hikers hike up mountains, across rivers, up switch backs and over passes and look back with disbelieve of the physical challenge they just overcame. THE TREK is where parents are challenged to say good bye to their young children for a few days and come back to discover that they are missed and loved and that their great kids have been empowered by these few days of separation.  THE TREK is where spouses, grandparents and friends take a load that is bigger than usual and find out how much they are capable of and how important they are in their families lives. THE TREK is where people venture and ask others to support this cause financially and hear a yes. THE TREK is where kids at family camp were challenged to live for a couple of days without their bed, TV and toys and discovered how playing with friends in nature is just the best thing ever.

THE TREK has become a community.  So many wonderful people that became Annette and Marc’s community and now our community, people who have found a way to be part of this journey and support Annette and her cause so many different ways.  You could see little communities on the trail- making decisions together, carrying each other's loads, sharing a snack and waiting for each other.  You could find hikers get together to plan, share camping and backpacking gear, meal ideas and rides. You could see little communities getting together to organize a garage sale, preparing for the concert and auction, showing up for gear night, and just offering encouraging words.  THE TREK community has grown and has reached so far - with trek participants and supporters flying in from Illinois, Tennessee and Canada.

THE TREK is a place to become inspired.  Annette and Marc have been asking us for our support, but in reality, whoever took part in the trek has felt supported by them in more than one way.  Everything they have done for the trek has been mindful, meaningful and full of grace.

Annette and Marc have been a great inspiration for all of us.
Thank you for making us making us part of this journey!

The Schwarz Family
Andrew, Ronit, Gali and Oren

Segment 3 taking off: Andrew, Victor, Rich, Shannon, DeKristie, Marc and Annette.

Segment 5: Wrapping it up! Annette, Elisabeth and Michelle.

Taking a breather on Segment 5: Ronit and Annette.

 Family Camp Fairies

Love at first camp...

Little Trek For A Cure

Annette and segment 6 team- good luck on the last few days of the trek!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Notes from Segment 3: The Mokelumne

A huge, light tan, rectangular figure glided noiselessly through the moonlit distance. Opposite, across the lake, the mountain glowed with the color of bone, intricately woven with deeply filigreed shadows in the lunar light. In the next days, we would be stung by bees and gouged by an endless procession of protruding manzanita branches. A startled rattlesnake would slither to the side of the trail and warily coil nearby. A mountain lion would slouch ephemerally up the mountainside.

We were descending through the Mokelumne River canyon, in one of the remotest areas of the central Sierra. Decades ago the powers-that-be stopped maintaining the trails here, making it necessary for us to find our own route through the forest and over granite outcrops, with occasional help from animal trails and “ducks” left by previous travelers. There were abundant treasures to be found: a refreshing, multiple-pool swimming hole carved in the granite; a stunning view upstream to a geometrically proportioned, stairstep cataract in a hanging canyon as we descended into the Enchanted Forest.

For two days we encountered only three other hikers. What a rare and unusual privilege it was to be in this isolated grandeur!

This was a physically demanding – even exhausting – three days, but magnificently rewarding, and every step for such a worthwhile cause.

I am left with a final, lingering image. At the end of our thirty-mile Segment 3, as most of us gratefully and wearily climbed into our cars to drive down the mountain to a hot lumberjack lunch, our leader Annette continued on in the rain, moving forward to Segment 4 and a journey of another fifteen days, 120 miles to go.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trek for a Cure 2013 has officially begun. This morning, July 14, 2013 at 10:30 am. Annette, Candice, Audrey, Devyn and Ella set out up the Meeks Bay trail head access to Desolation Wilderness area. There was so much excitement and enthusiasm in the truck as I drove everyone up to the drop off point. I am always struck by how focused everyone is when leaving on a trip. Everyone’s thoughts are on the trail ahead and they are antsy to get going. Still I made them pose for pictures before letting them go on their way. Then I gave Annette a kiss goodbye and she was out of sight within two minutes. I am reminded of a goodbye described in Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road." He describes his departing friend as “He turned and leaned into his life and he was gone.”

That’s why I enjoy homecomings more. Well here are some photo’s from the launch.

Marc “Truck for a Cure” Lancet
The intrepid Trekers of section one. Annette, Candice, Audrey, Ella and Devyn
The traditional beginning of the Trek. Putting your best foot forward.

"And they turned, leaned into their lives and were gone."
Annette sporting the banner created by Ronit. More than ready to get started. Into the wild, and into our hearts. Wilderness as cure, community as balm.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finally on our way!

I have all of my food packed and bagged and ready to go! Whew! I tried to pack at least 1 1/2 to 2 pound of food a day. It is better to have too much than not enough! We meet at the Trailhead at Meeks Bay on Sunday at 9:30 at will be off by 10 a.m. It has been a wonderful last several months as we have raised money for the MPN Research Foundation to find a cure for blood cancer. Thank you for all of your generous support! There are 22 hikers in total getting on and off along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail. I am hoping that as folks get off the trail they will share their experiences in the wilderness on this blog and on the Facebook Trek for a Cure page! I am very excited and can't wait to share adventures and tales of the trail when we get out at Tuolumne Meadows. Thank you again for all your wonderful support! Keep it green and muddy! Annette

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Okay Hikers, we are starting to get our gear and food ready! Right? I like to dehydrate my meals instead of purchasing the bagged dinners that are available at outdoor stores. So far, I have working on a few pasta dishes and lots of fruit leather. I think I have enough fruit leather to last the trip- thanks to the abundant apricot tree in my yard and a friend's prolific tree. I may be pretty tired of apricots by the time I get off the trail but now it tastes great. There are plenty of non-camper meal options that make quick and light dinners on the trail. Some are the rice noodle/pad thai/kung pao chicken meals that are made for the microwave. You simply strip away the large packaging and Voila! a single serving backpacking dinner. I am now going to start thinking about breakfasts... I just ordered some excellent whole dried milk from Spice Sage, online. I like to add that to granola or oatmeal and most definitely to my coffee in the morning. OH! COFFEE! A trail must for me and I like to use the Via instant coffee from Starbuck (though, I use two per cup in the morning). I am going to head out to Island Lake this Saturday for the last practice overnigher before the Trek and can't wait to try out some new dinner concoctions! Keep it Green and Muddy!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Emily Wells Concert

I am in full steam ahead as I begin to dry my food, stare at maps and send many emails to connect hikers. There are just three more weeks before I hit the trail and I am getting very excited. The last month has been a wonderful whirlwind of events. The culminating event was the Emily Wells Benefit Concert for the Trek for a Cure. The show was a huge success and without the drive, creativity and passion for music that DeKristie Adams has- the show would not have been such a success. The West Nile Ramblers opened for Emily Wells. They are a local band who has a fun, bluegrass sound. Emily's music was beautiful, evocative and powerful. The day was beautiful, with the kids running and playing on the lawn while family and friends listened to a line up of wonderful music. A great way to raise money to find a cure for blood cancer, the support was fantastic! Thank you!