As you may recall from a previous blog, I have been planning and training for a long-distance backpacking trip that is about to start. It’s something I’ve been researching for five years now.
It all started with hearing the stories of a 20-something-year-old who quit her job and hiked the whole Appalachian Trail straight through over the course of 6 months. Since I can’t (and don’t want to) quit my job, I started researching the idea of hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail over the course of several years until I completed it from the starting point to the ending point.
I figured that would take me 6 years of hiking 30 days per year.
The plan changed after an old Marine buddy convinced me that I should instead hike the Pacific Crest Trail in sections since the scenery was so much more diverse over the whole trail. I liked the sound of that.
So, I’m off. I will be hiking northbound over a combination of the Pacific Crest Trail proper and the section where the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail merge. This is generally referred to as the “Sierra” section and is only reasonable to attempt in the summer because of the snow. Traditional John Muir Trail hikers usually hike the trail in the opposite direction I’m heading and summit Mount Whitney, which I have decided to bypass.
I will fly into Mammoth Lakes, California and spend a few days acclimating at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Lodge since most of the hike is between 8,500 feet and 13,500 feet in elevation. I will then take a bus down to a town called Lone Pine where I will hitch hike up to the trailhead in an area called Horseshoe Meadows. Hitch hiking is very common in hiker towns – I’ll be fine. My goal is to end in Yosemite National Park (current forest fires depending – the Lions Fire is right on the trail).
I do not yet have an exact end date or even a return ticket – In fact I’m not even sure what town I’ll fly out of to return home. I’ll just figure it out, it’s all part of the adventure.
I’m expecting to be gone for the month of August.
I owe a lot of gratitude to the entire Monument Team who has not only agreed to afford me what is an unusual amount of consecutive time off, but encouraged me to pursue this mid-life adventure.
I WILL HAVE NO CELL SIGNAL ON THE TRAIL. There are 2-3 spots in resupply towns that I’ll be able to get signal, but I will otherwise be cut off from calls, texts, emails and the internet in general. The whole Monument Team is ready to help you out if you need anything. Please email any of them or call the office. My email Out of Office reply has all the details.
I will have a Garmin Iridium Satellite InReach GPS which will report my location on a satellite view, which looks a lot like Google Earth, every few hours depending on how the battery is holding up. If you are interested in following me, this website will start to post my locations starting August 7th: https://share.garmin.com/DavidArmstrong
Wish me luck…I’ll have a lot of time to think of blog topics while I’m walking up and down mountains. I’m already feeling the “lots of small steps over time gets you where you want to be” metaphor.
Keep looking forward,
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