Preview – 4th Annual Summer Solstice Expedition

For the fourth straight year, the Red Tomahawk Expeditionary Force shall kick off the “summer” season in the Sierras with a trip that celebrates the wondrous days of longest sunlight. It’s taken a bit longer than usual, but after weeks of haphazard deliberation and surly debate, the Board of Directors can now reveal the destination for the heralded 4th Annual Summer Solstice Expedition.

It’s not so different than the countries bidding to host the Olympics or the World Cup; each year, national park agencies from around the country send in their bids to the RTEF Board of Directors, attempting to attract the esteemed expeditionary force to a particular corner of the wilderness. Eerily similar to World Cup bidding, the kick-backs, bribes and corruption run rampant throughout the process. If ever you’ve wondered how Director Blakeslee’s closet somehow became filled with 25 jackets, 12 backpacks, five tents and six sleeping bags, the mystery is over.

This year, the RTEF shall travel to Kings Canyon National Park for an extended four day sojourn from June 16-19, 2011. Our forces shall gather at Road’s End and, after embarking from the trailhead in an easterly direction, shall turn suddenlike to the left, and go north toward what shall be the raging Mist Falls. In fact, much of the early miles of this hike will flank the south forth above Bubbs Creek, and we fully expect the run-off to unmercifully thunder down the canyons.

Once clear of the tight granite halls, we shall emerge into the tranquility of Paradise Valley, where quiet streams meander through high mountain meadows. North, north we shall go, towards the upper end of the valley and likely beyond.

Given that we’ll be remaining below 10,000 feet the entire trip, expect toasty campfires and RTEF Tasty S’moresĀ® every night. Only reluctantly shall we be forced from the wilderness and uncermemoniously returned to the drudgery of city life.

Tentative departure from aforementioned dismal city is scheduled for Wednesday evening, June 16. We shall likely hole up in the glamorous village of Fresno for the night, and then punch our way into the park and to Road’s End on Thursday morning. If the gods are with us, we’ll return home late Sunday, the 19th.

Our permit reservation has been submitted, the Board is gathering gear, invites to the backcountry elite have been sent. Will you join us, or does the safety of the Excuse Bag forever remain within reach?


  1. Absolutely no truth to the rumor that there might still be some leftover snow upon this trail. Those are lies, spread by our competitors.

  2. Excuse Bag – Hawaii! I will have to drown my sorrows in tropical drinks while the FORCE makes this trek. I certaintly will miss you all. Hey, doesn’t swimming with nature’s wild animals and exploring exploding, dangerous volcanoes count towards membership?

  3. Hey, hey, it’s not very nice to refer to the island natives as “wild animals.” Director Silva (you know, the one who’s part Hawaiian) will likely be unimpressed with your lack of discretion. Sounds like Cadet Kitten needs some Sensitivity Training……

  4. Does swimming in EIGHTY degree water count towards full membership?! Seriously, if a mai tai and float-y raft are all it takes to gain entry, we might as well open it up to the entire guest roster of Princess Cruise Lines.
    The Hawaiian wants REAL inquiries only.

  5. Esteemed Director Franz. I am noticing a slight wavering of commitment with Cadet Kitten. I am wondering if, as we discussed, we should implement an oath for membership — really get people to lay it out there…. There will be so many opportunities to camp on snow for the solstice trip. I can’t see why cadet kitten would opt for cush living, bloated stomachs, and bad sun burns over the now legendary sostice expedition… It can’t be because the pillow in her hotel room would be better than in her tent… I know that for a fact!!!

  6. The DoSO and Director Blakeslee raise some concerning points about the cadet in question. Perhaps an oath, blood pact, or other pagan ritual might be necessary in order to secure the level of commitment we require.

    I have forwarded these notes to Cadet Kitten, along with the reminder that some initiative on her part would go a loooong way towards remedying many of her character issues. An RTEF Hawaii Expedition, perhaps….

  7. I’m confirmed for the extended trip. Had to take to bribing my captor with a spa weekend, but it worked! Was beginning to think I was going to need Fr. Edmund Campion’s “Save My Soul!” Curbside Extraction Service!

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