#1 - Hiking the JMT - This is Happening!
I meant to start blogging again about a week or two ago, but life happens... or rather Covid happens. It is amazing that I was able to elude this sickness for so long, but alas it was not meant to be this time around. Covid crept its way into our household once again and this time managed to grasp its cold clammy hands around my ankles and pull me under. Here I am a little over a week later, and I am still trying to pull myself back to the surface. I am the type of person that never gets sick, and I cannot remember the last time I have felt this bad, but every dark tunnel has to have a light at some point, right? Well, that light appeared today.
This morning, I awoke to yet another coughing fit. I have not had a good night's sleep that did not involve hacking up a lung in quite a while, and last night was no exception. At 6:30am I commenced my routine of hacking, guzzled some water and then checked my phone to see what time it was. Today, I was adamant that I was going to clock in some hours at work. That is when I noticed that I had received a text at 1:11am. Who in their right mind would text me at that hour?!?! I clicked on the text to find that it was the permit tracking service that I had paid for to monitor dropped permits for the John Muir Trail so that I could snag one up as soon as one was released. I had received one of these texts just a few days before, but by the time I had seen the text and logged in, the permit was already gone. Seeing that over 5 hours had already gone by, I was pretty sure this permit was already gone as well, so I set down my phone to go back to sleep. I am not sure what prompted me to pick my phone back up again. I suppose that I just did not want to lose out on an opportunity, by assuming. Not only that, but I needed to be positive. I needed to try, no matter how sick I felt. So, I clicked on the link, entered my information and scrolled down till I came to the Happy Isles with Donahue Pass Eligibility permit. At that point, I am pretty sure my heart just about jumped out of my chest when I saw that in fact I was not too late. That ever coveted little number showing a permit available was staring back at me. This is actually going to happen. I am going to hike the John Muir Trail!
It was about a year and a half ago that I started backpacking, a year ago that I knew that I wanted to hike the John Muir Trail, two weeks ago that I worked up the courage to request the time off needed to hike the trail and just this morning that I was able to obtain a permit to do so. I am still in shock that this is going to happen. In a little less than four months, I will have already started this adventure. In four months, my only job each day will be to put one foot in front of the next, over and over and over again.
For those friends and family that follow my crazy adventures and have no idea what the John Muir Trail is or what it entails, let me give you a really quick overview. The John Muir Trail is a 211 mile hiking trail that runs from Yosemite Valley to the top of Mt Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. The landscape is said to include some of the most beautiful views in California and, I would say, the world. With an average daily mileage of 11-12 miles, it will take me about 3 weeks to complete the trail. I will not have anything more than what I can carry in my backpack, and I'll be sleeping in a hammock off the trail most nights except when passing a town where I will soak up the luxury of a bed and a hot shower. It still remains to be said if I will be going solo on this trip or not, but as of now it looks like my fiancé, David, will join me for the first part of the trail, and then I will complete the rest on my own. Over the years, the John Muir Trail has become extremely popular and competitive to obtain permits. Imagine fighting over sleeping in the woods and walking for miles on end. Yes, those are my kind of people. That being said, I will never truly be alone. There are always great people to meet and conversations to be had.
In addition to hiking the JMT, I have been accepted as a 2023 blogger for The Trek. Normally The Trek is a site that shares the stories of those hiking the big 3 trails; The Appalachian Trail, The Pacific Coast Trail and The Continental Divide Trail. These trails each span 2,000 plus miles in length and take months to complete, making my 200 plus mile trek look like a walk in the park. Nonetheless, I have to start somewhere, and The Trek has requested to follow me on this journey, so I can share it with others. Posts on The Trek will start in May.
As I write this post, my head begins to spin. There are so many things to think about. There are so many plans and preparations. I will need to plan my days. Where am I going to camp? What am I going to eat? Where am I going to re-supply? Where do I want to plan my rest days? What gear and supplies should I replace before my trip? Not only that, but the time period that I am going is not ideal... or rather, it could not be ideal. That is yet to be known. I set off on the trail on June 11th. This is considered the shoulder season. It could be beautiful, or it could be covered in snow with very high rivers to cross. Knowing this is possible, I am also looking for training classes for snow and water crossings. There is so much to do and so little time. I know the days will go fast and June will be here before I know it. I am excited. I am scared. I can not wait! John Muir Trail, here I come!