I’ve never been able to stick with blogs before. Whether they are too specific to sustain my interest, or too broad to share pertinent thoughts, I haven’t had much success in the past.
But alas. I am trying again.
Because this year, I am attempting to hike the John Muir Trail northbound, in July, in the highest recorded snow year since 2011. It will be amazing, terrifying, exhausting, frustrating, mesmerizing, and belligerently beautiful. And I would be remiss to not share my experience, my strategies, my successes and my failures, and my thoughts with someone else out there.
If I were going alone, I’d be shaking in my boots just thinking about the snowmelt, the passes, and the “it’s a waist-deep wade at low flow” water crossings I’ll be facing. But as it is, I’ll be joined by my patient, level-headed, infinitely calm boyfriend, who happens to be a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), hopefully soon to be a wEMT. This fact makes the whole thing a notch less deathly-seeming. But even with the best preparation, gear, and emergency medical knowledge, it’s not an easy trail: The lowest elevation outside of Yosemite is a few hundred feet below 10,000. The highest point on the trail is Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 at 14,500 ft, followed a swift two days later by the ominous Forester Pass, at 13,200. I’m carrying crampons and an ice axe. I packed most of my gear in dry bags so that my down bag doesn’t get wet, and therefore not keep me warm at the likely sub-freezing night temperatures. This trail is intentionally hard, and intentionally incredible. Many hikers call it the most beautiful mountain scenery in America. It is relentless in both its difficulty and its awe-inspiring grandeur.
So here I am, writing for you, dear reader, in the hopes that I can convey the majesty, the excitement, the terror, and the incredible beauty of California’s High Sierra and my 230-mile trek through it.
Here’s my plan for this site:
First, I’ll be posting some thoughts on training, reasons for hiking, trails I’ve walked so far this summer, and mental and spiritual preparation for the trip, among other things.
Then, hopefully, after the trip I’ll be able to share the actual experiences, the conditions, and insights gained from my time on the trail.
Finally, after the trip, I hope to make this a more general space for my hiking (and specifically thru-hiking and long-distance hiking) experiences (other planned treks include the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo in Spain, and *hopefully* an Appalachian Trail thru-hike before too many more years go by!). I hope to share reflections, life lessons, gear and equipment ideas, and general thoughts on the outdoors and life.
Cheers and see you soon! -S