I think we can all say the secret is out. People are finding their way out into nature in droves, enchanted by beauty and awe of the wild places protected from the draining existence of industrialized society. Every year more are taking on the rugged terrain and testing the boundaries of their physical stamina to get a taste of these lands, and I am one of them.
I grew up within the historical boundaries of the harsh but colorful land of New England. Some of America's first colonized lands mixed with some of natures most unique rock formations, coastline, and leafy forests. As a child we spent time hiking to the low elevations of the granite mountain tops, swam in the warmer summer waters of the Atlantic ocean and the nutrient rich forest lakes. I was lucky to have so much at my fingertips, but didn't take advantage the way I did after i began migrating west. Finding myself in the wonderland of the Pacific Northwest over ten years ago I became addicted to exploring the many landscapes that blanket the world on all sides of the mountains and desert plains. Each year I challenge myself even further, taking on adventures I had once thought well out of my grasp of possibility. The distances grow further, the elevations higher, the seasons longer. It was inevitable to find myself planning a multi-day, one way, long through hike. As anyone who has ever taken on such an endeavor knows it is the only way to engrain yourself in the life of self sufficiency without being strictly a viewer taking a momentary glance at the world beyond what we see daily in the towns and cities. With long through hikes we are forced to face our limits, we are emmersed in the natural world, not just viewing from a far.
A few years ago I found myself beginning a slow build towards the day I would find myself exploring one of the trails that inspired the conservationist vision; a vision that continues to grow today, that strives to save our wild places, especially the ones that captivates the best of our imagination and our instinctive feelings to go back to nature. The John Muir Trail holds a strong place to those of use living the outdoor lifestyle. That is obvious to anyone putting in the exhausting efforts of obtaining one of the few permits offered each year to explore the trail. These permits are created to limit the impact of humans, but it does more than that. It creates this mystique that draws larger crowds every year. I decided not to share this project until I know I would be one of the lucky few with one of those special tickets to ride. So with the beginning of 2017 and the window for submitting for the permits arriving I found myself with some good news. An email from the National Parks Service congratulates us and provides the details of our trek coming mid summer.
The permits were acquired and plans began to take form. With that said, as anyone who is planning a trip through the captivating Sierra Mountain Range already are wondering, the question of what this summer will entail with the ever growing snow pack and already brutal winter that has sacked the higher elevations of the western United States. There are already many challenges and dangerous conditions to consider each year during the peak seasons, but this year is now one for the books. As the spring becomes more prevalent and the days grow longer we will keep a keen eye on the trails and weigh the situation with intricacy. Along with in depth looks at years past, talking with outdoor enthusiasts and long through hikers, this blog will continue to show the process of taking on a long hike like this and the ultimate decisions we make after researching the overall condition of the trail. So stay tuned for more.