Although Dan has been backpacking once before (for a week in Canada), Snoopy and I hadn’t been. We were blessed to receive many awesome outdoor/camping/backpacking gifts for our wedding (thanks to our REI registry and generous friends and family!), so we put them to good use and inaugurated Snoopy and me into the backpacking club. We hiked 5-6 miles/each way on the Cottonwood Lakes Trail near Lone Pine, CA, in the Inyo National Forest (within the John Muir Wilderness) with my coworker, George, and his wife, Elena. After camping in the Cottonwood Pass Campground the first night, we hiked back to Cottonwood Lake #3 and camped near the lake the second night. I was a little worried how I’d do carrying a heavy backpack, but I honestly felt fine the entire time. I was also more than a little worried that our doggie would not be able to handle the length of the hike or the warm weather, but he was a champ and did great!
The most interesting/exciting/surprising part of our adventure is that WE SAW AND SPOKE WITH TOM HANKS ON THE TRAIL!! Here’s how that went:
Within the first mile of our hike, we stepped aside on the trail to let a group of three guys pass us. They stopped to chat with us and pet Snoopy before continuing on. When Tom Hanks (although I didn’t realize it was Tom Hanks at the time) walked up to us, Snoopy jumped up on him and licked his face. Tom Hanks joked with us about the permits needed to be on the trail. I noticed that he wasn’t carrying as much gear as his two buddies and that he had on an Herbalife dryfit shirt, lots of bracelet-type things, and a very large nice watch (way too nice to be wearing in the wilderness). And, of course, I noticed his voice. Since they were obviously hiking at a faster pace than our group, I asked them if they would have dinner ready for us at the campsite when we arrived and Tom joked back that yes, they’d have dinner in a Dutch oven ready and waiting for us. After our small chitchat, the men continued on. My coworker immediately turned to the rest of us and said, “That was Tom Hanks!!” I was shocked. Really?! But then I listened to Tom’s voice as he walked away and sure enough, it sounded just like the movie star! Many other people we encountered on the trail confirmed our sighting of the Tom Hanks. One group had seen him in a cafe in town the day before. One woman had given him and his group information about lakes #5 and #6. But no one else could say that their dog had licked the famous actor!