I’ve just returned to civilization. Finished the John Muir Trail, 220 miles through the California High Sierras. Woke up at midnight yesterday to successfully climb Mt. Whitney. I’m really dark and probably pretty strong right now, although I can’t tell how much weight I’ve lost. We had perfect weather for 25 straight days and then little afternoon thundershowers for the last two, bit of hail. Now I hear there is some sort of hurricane in NYC, moving all the way up to Canada!!?! Also I seem to have a new boyfriend now. I met him on the trail and hiked with him for the last seventeen days, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Tomorrow I’ll actually get cell phone service and I can call all of you who would like to know how the grand adventure has been for the last full month :).
I’m at Muir Trail Ranch, last outpost of civilization out here on the JMT. Nothing much to say, except the goddamn full moon spoiled my long-awaited Perseid meteor showers, and each and every high pass in these mountains is breathtaking, just breathtaking. I took a dip in a crystal clear pool in a stream, and can finally feel myself getting stronger and maybe losing a little bit of weight :) I’m also quite brown around the hands, knees, and face :).
Checking out of modern life, now. See you in ten or eleven days on the other side of Mt. Whitney, where I’ll see what’s been going on in the world for the last month.
I’m at a place called VVR right now (Vermilion Valley Resort). It’s rustic and awesome and my advisor in college was right—I really am a Republican (of sorts) hippie. I think I might become like these people here for a while, tooling around the country doing odd jobs, keeping brown and sharing food around the campfire every night.
Basically I’ve learned a couple things along the trail so far. Firstly, I’m not as good of a friend or quite as good of a person as I had thought myself to be =/. Secondly, I am going to be a professor of physics. That’s just what I am going to be. There’s no damn avoiding it, I guess.
The next 120 miles or so of the trail are going to be a lot tougher. The passes break 12,000 feet, and the elevation changes per day get a lot rougher. The weather stopped being clear blue sky every day, and I’m predicting afternoon thundershowers coming sometime soon. Tamara exited a couple days back, and Diane is leaving tomorrow morning back to San Francisco. But I met several people on the trail who are going to hike the rest of the way with me. They are all guys :) they said we could be a Boy Scout troup together. I’ve always wanted to be a Boy Scout!! :) D, T and I were the only group of only girls we saw on the John Muir Trail, it’s so funny.
Anyway I’m still alive and doing well, and since this is probably the last post until the end of the trail, I hope you donate to my online charity thing!! And please do pray for me, for physical and emotional strength, and hope to see you on the other side!
Turns out the snow was not that much of a problem. We hiked over fields of it at 11000 feet just fine. We’re at Agnew Meadows right now along the PCT briefly where Tamara will exit. No bear sightings, just marmot and chipmunk and maybe pikka? Off now to feast on roasted fresh-caught trout. Feeling sunburned but healthy :)
If I haven't properly explained what JMT means
It’s the night before we set off on our JMT adventure. I’m staying at the last hostel-home in the United States, in Merced, CA. The cutest place in ever!!
…And I’m blanching. Tuolumne is full of snow. There is still up to twenty feet of snow on the higher passes. I don’t have that kind of gear. Trying to calm down.
Pre-treating our clothes with Permethrin. It’s a mosquito neurotoxin, but also, turns out, a human neurotoxin! Hence the pre-treating and not the present-treating.
Please donate somewhere! -
(Click on the link in the title.)
This will motivate me to finish the trail, if I see this when I am away :).
:) I liked sitting next to you on the plane.
Packing the bear canister full of food for just one leg of the hiking trip. It was a huge effort, and we’re only halfway done. (The picture only shows a couple days’ worth.) Fortunately I spent so much time on my part that I get a pass packing for this part.
The John Muir Trail has plenty of black bears around it (brown bears are extinct in the Sierras). Also they are so smart they’ve already figured out how to foil hanging bags of food off tree branches. So bearproof canisters are required, we just have to keep them at night 400 ft or whatever away from our packs and tents. And we have to fit all our food into them.
Every three days for the first 9 days (or a little more, since we’re out of shape) the three of us pick up a new reserve of food that we mail ahead to the only places along the trail that resemble civilization: a post office in Tuolumne Meadows at the end of Yosemite, a lodge at Devil’s Postpile National Monument, a resort off the trail at Edison Lake. Then when D and T exit, I get one more food drop at Muir Trail Ranch and continue on about 11 days till I finish my journey to the top of Mt. Whitney. Hopefully it will be less than that as I get stronger since I can’t really cram so much food in the bucket!!