I’m planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail in 2015. This makes me one of approximately 1,500, if you count the PCT moonbats. But rest assured, this is not your typical trail prep blog.
Yes, I suppose I’ll write a little bit about my gear choices when the time gets closer and my pack is coming together. I’ll outline my food menus and recount the ins and outs of resupply logistics. And eventually, of course, I will transcribe my trail notes here too, so that everyone (face it, mostly me) can note which days were harder than expected and just how sick of tortillas one becomes. But that’s a long way off. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t started mapping out campsites or anything. But that kind of preparation is just details.
I should probably mention I’m a 30-year-old female who looks 25 and I’ll be hiking all 211 miles alone. I should also perhaps mention that I’ve been fighting a lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, leading periodically into addiction and other self-destructive patterns that are hard to recover from. I’m still trying to figure out the underlying mechanics of how to live with my brain in the world. But strange as it may seem to the camping averse out there, there’s hardly been an easier place for me to do that than alone in the backcountry. Part of my reason for tackling the Muir Trail stems from my continual quest for spiritual food, when I seem to be allergic to the traditionally religious and the new-age alike.
I swear, if I had a nickel for every time somebody asked me if I’ve read Wild, I’d be able to upgrade to one of those fancy Nemo Astro sleeping pads and still have a dollar to stick in the jar at a 12-step meeting when I got back.
So, this is just as much a mental health blog or even a recovery blog as a JMT blog. And the preparation it chronicles is holistic. Between now and July, I not only need to train my body to get off the couch, but must also train my mind to dig its way out of the debilitating sludge and back into clean shiny grooves. And I need to train my spirit, for lack of a better word, to rest in openness. Some of this training will get reinforced on the trail. Some of it may seem to have nothing to do with the trail, but by weaving all my personal goals into one thick rope, I hope to keep from losing any threads.
The category filters are key here. If you really couldn’t care less about my behavioral health adventures (it’s cool, I get it) and are honestly just wondering how to get your trail legs in the city or how many MoHos you can really jam into a Bearikade, don’t run away—you’re going to want to flip through the Bodywork and Groundwork posts and avoid the Headwork and Heartwork territory. Likewise, members of the recovery community who are bored senseless by gear lists and workout plans should take the reverse tack.
That said, I’m mainly writing for myself. This is a quasi-daily journal mapping my inroads towards some kind of summit, physical or otherwise. Take what speaks and leave the rest.