It has been over three years now since my first long distance backpacking journey, a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT). Since that time, I have primarily focused my energy on my professional development. While I have found immense satisfaction and a sense of purpose in this endeavor, I can’t help but find myself, particularly during some of the more hectic times, longing for the simplicity of trail life.
So when I finally managed to carve out some vacation time this summer, I knew I had to utilize it wisely. What better way to spend three weeks than to get outside after the completion of a rigorous professional training program? But where to go and explore? There were many prospective destinations to choose from, but when I heard about the majesty of the John Muir Trail (JMT) located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, I knew that if I got the chance, that was the trail for me.
The problem with the JMT is that a coveted permit must be secured in order to hike it – a tall order considering 97% of permit applications are ultimately denied due to the limited numbers allocated and the popularity of the trail. With that in mind, I put in my application, fully expecting to be declined, and making contingency plans. Much to my surprise and delight, I received notification of my successful application and began making plans for my latest adventure.
And so in a matter of a few weeks I will depart on a new journey. While not as long of a time commitment (I’ll be covering 220 miles rather than the nearly 2200 miles of the AT), I expect my JMT journey will be every bit as challenging and rewarding. Like most new things I have set out to accomplish, I feel woefully underprepared – both physically and logistically – for the hike. Yet despite these misgivings, nothing can dampen my excitement to get out in nature and on the trail again.
Until our paths cross again,