Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Temerity in Setting a Goal

It's the middle of April and the effects of setting a BHAG are beginning to be felt.In my first post in this journal I talked about setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal - BHAG, to hike the entire PCT. Now it is April of 2014 and the PCT trip is still out there in the future. In the meantime I've set and achieved the first objective last October when I hiked the sixty four miles PCT miles from Highway 50 to Interstate 80 in two days. From that trip I realized that my training regimen was all wrong and that some new gear was in order.

In a little over two months from now I will set out on a significant medium-sized objective which is growing in my mind into a BHAG. The John Muir Trail follows and basically parallels the PCT through some of the most rugged parts of the PCT. My plan is to traverse the whole thing from north to south. My permit has me starting at Glacier Point. I intend to hike from the Yosemite valley floor to Glacier Point and from there east to intersect the JMT at Nevada falls.

In looking at my maps and calculating the time and distances it looks like the two most difficult days of my trip are going to be the first one and the last one. It's the first one that is the most scary to me. The first four miles appear to be innumerable switch-backs that climb four thousand vertical feet. Yosemite valley is at an elevation of four thousand feet above sea level. I will be climbing from there up to eight thousand feet. The rest of my two week trip I will remain above eight thousand feet. I will be climbing over ten passes above ten thousand feet and finally climbing Mount Whitney at over fourteen thousand feet. My training and conditioning has become quite important to me. Climbing that  much at the beginning of a hike can have serious repercussions in the following days.

I don't think the training for the PCT will be as rigorous as what I will need to do the next few months. The beginning of the PCT is relatively flat and open desert hiking. So I am feeling a little dread in the pit of my stomach. This is not a sure thing, there is no guarantee of success and there are all kinds of things that can go wrong. I guess that's what makes a big hairy goal audacious. To have the temerity to take on a goal that is beyond anything you have done before is scary. There are all sorts of cliches and motivational phrases that come to my mind, but when the goal is big enough the phrases really do seem like cliches.

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