It has been quite some time since I’ve revisited this blog I began so long ago with such good intentions. As I read back to 2012 when I first began this blog, I am reminded that my intentions were to write about my journeys and adventures, both physically and spiritually, all that I experienced out in the great wild world, and all that I experienced within, from one journey to the next. Well, as we all know, life happens, and although I never stopped adventuring, exploring, discovering, or even writing, I did stop blogging shortly after I began. As the universe would have it, however, many things have coincided very recently and have led me back to here, and so I have come to the conclusion that it is time to revive this blog of mine, and keep it alive. So here I am, and here I write, to share with those of you who will humor me, patronize me, or otherwise take interest in whatever I have to say about life’s latest discoveries, feats, and adventures.
As many of you know, I have recently returned from a 5 week cross-country road trip, visiting national and state parks, friends and family, and as many beautiful and geologically fascinating places I could squeeze into the time I allotted myself. I have yet to fully update everyone on just how spectacular those experiences were in much detail, and I have yet to post all of my share-worthy photos, but trust that I will very soon. However, this is not the post for that. That post will be forthcoming. Right now, as I sit here and contemplate all that I have seen and done in the past year, I am overcome with gratitude, awe, and happiness. I have been afforded, many times over, the opportunity to experience some truly incredible places and adventures, to witness such amazing sights and scenery, and to connect with and be influenced by some of the most kind, knowledgeable, experienced, talented, and inspiring people I’ve ever met. This last year has certainly been one that shall remain unforgettable, and has altered my life forever, in so many positive ways that I am still becoming aware of day by day. All of these things remain a part of me and at the forefront of my mind with each step I take in a new direction, and as one adventure comes to an end to make way for yet another, none remain any less monumental in the grand scheme of things, as each individual encounter, experience, moment, collectively makes up the whole, and I would not be where I am if not for each and every one of them.
I write all of this from a place of reflection and gratitude as I prepare for my next big adventure, which begins tomorrow. Tomorrow my family and I will make our way down 395 to Mono and June Lakes where we will spend the day and night together in a cabin before I set out on the John Muir Trail Saturday morning, August 1. This will be my first of what I hope to be many experiences along the famed JMT, named after my beloved hero, John Muir, and I am overwhelmed right now that this dream is about to become a reality. Months of daydreaming, anticipation, research, planning and preparation are about to pay off, and I am going to witness the beauty of the High Sierra along the John Muir Trail with my own two eyes, in person, for the first time.
I am setting out Saturday morning via the Rush Creek Trail at Silver Lake, and I will connect to the JMT around JMT-southbound mile 40, which will be around mile 10 for me. From there, I will hike southbound 155 or so miles along the JMT, and my plan thus far is to exit via Kearsarge Pass or Shepherds Pass, just north of the trail leading to Whitney, and into the town of Independence, where I will be reunited with my famolee on August 10! I am omitting the Yosemite and Whitney sections of the trail for a few reasons: the main one being permit restrictions. I was unable to get a permit starting in Yosemite, as is the case for the majority of would-be hikers, and found it was much easier to simply begin outside the park and obtain my permit via Inyo National Forest instead. I did, however, ‘win’ the lottery for my permit to begin at Whitney, but later decided against it, and forfeited said permit thinking that beginning at the highest elevations of the trail with the heaviest pack might not be in my favor. So, I opted to cut some miles from my hike and instead piece it together this way. The second reason that reinforced my decision to do my JMT hike this way was that I would avoid the crowds at Yosemite and Whitney, and still afford myself the opportunity to experience the wilderness and the most beautiful parts of the trail. I know that I can always make up those sections later, as the trails will still be there for me. And the final factor that weighed in on this route planning strategy is that I only have ten days. Most people have a little more leniency and flexibility than I when attempting to plan a JMT hike; unfortunately, flexibility with dates was not a luxury I was granted. Being a single mom of two kids, my dad (aka Best Grandpa Ever!) agreed to keep my kids for me, from one weekend to the next, so long as it was only during one work week, did not interfere with any big races on any of our calendars, did not interfere with his inventory and auditing schedules at work, and did not interfere with anyone’s school schedules. That is a lot of specific criteria to plan a trip of this nature around. However, I was able to make it work this way. So, shaving off a few miles from the top and the bottom are greatly in my favor, and from what I hear from those who have hiked all 222 miles, I will still get to experience the raw beauty of the best of the JMT, hiking a little less than 200 miles total, including lateral trails connecting to and leading off of the JMT, over ten incredible days.
So, this is it! This will be my biggest, longest, and grandest backpacking trip yet. I am nervous and excited at the same time. My biggest concerns are how much I will miss my kids, as this will be the longest I’ve ever gone without them, and less than ideal weather, one I can prepare for, and the other I cannot. I trust though that everything will work out; but no matter how much trust I have in things, still remaining are the remnants of unsettled worries and anxieties that accompany trips of this nature. This does not, however, deter from my excitement and anticipation about my hike. I regret slightly not having thought to blog about this sooner, and share all of my preparatory experiences along the way, although I have just been so busy I simply didn’t have the time, but I think I will do that in retrospect, and post details and photos of how I prepared (because many photos were taken), what I did, what resources I used, and how well it all worked (or didn’t) upon my return. So stay tuned, and in the meantime, please send me well wishes and positive vibes for this upcoming journey! Thank you all, and I will update as soon as I return, if not sooner! For now, the mountains are calling and I must go…