Sunday, June 15, 2014

Anticipation and Gearing up for the JMT

Anticipate, to take before. The word conveys the idea that I can experience something before it actually happens. That pretty much sums up what is happening to me in regards to my John Muir Trail hike that begins in two weeks. Sometimes my thoughts are filled with joy and excitement and other times they are filled with dread and fear. Its weird that the same event can produce emotions than span the entire spectrum.

There are the continual thoughts, stemming from the question I get from others, "You are going by yourself?" Thoughts that ask myself, "Am I crazy?" and "Why would you want to do that?" I really don't have any satisfying answers to those questions. All I know is that I want to do this hike. It seems epic and extremely difficult, maybe that's the appeal.

My friend Al says that men in our culture lack a clear process that transitions them to the 'wise-ones' or the 'respected elder' of the tribe. Men just get old and boring. In a culture focused on the young, perhaps he's right. I do a lot of training hikes through Sun City Lincoln Hills, and think man, I could move here in a few years because I'll be old enough. Is that it? I don't want to be in that place yet. God has granted me health and vigor, I want to cross snowy passes and traverse cold flowing rivers. I want to camp beneath the expanse of the sky and imagine the thoughts of Abraham as he contemplated God's words to him.

In two weeks I'll be leaving the comfortable and suburban life I lead and step into the wildness of nature. Two weeks and I'll know if the training worked. Two weeks and I'll be setting out on the next stage of my goal to walk from Mexico to Canada in a single season. Two weeks and know a lot more than I know now. It's one thing to know something by reading it in a book or watching someone else live it on TV, it's quite another thing to feel it up close and personal.

I re-packed my pack again this weekend. I pulled a few more things off of my list. I have decided that the micro-spikes are staying home. There isn't enough snow to worry about them, and I'll save over ten ounces of weight. I have gotten the base weight of my pack down below eleven pounds. Base weight is the weight of your gear excluding food, fuel, and water. Eleven pounds is pretty amazing to me. How is it possible that I can bring enough stuff to feel comfortable in the wilderness for two weeks and keep it below eleven pounds?

I have started to put the my gear on a list. I wanted to have more than just a list of the items and the weight. I want to have a list that is useful to you, the reader, perhaps my grand-child reading this years from now. The list I want for you is a list with links to the sources of the items I am taking. A list with pictures showing you what the item looks like. Of course by the time you read it, some of this stuff may no longer be available. My pack for instance is an old version of the GossamerGear Mariposa, the new one is cooler, with more features, but it's also heavier than the one that I have. You'll have to go through this list yourself and decide what works for you.

Going with 'Style'
Every item in this list is a personal friend of mine. That's kinda weird, how can you be friends with inanimate objects? Perhaps saying they are friends is a little over the top. Each of the items I am bringing is useful and necessary for me for this trip. None are optional, all of the optional items have been taken off of the list. I have spent a lot of geek time working on the HTML for this list and I still haven't completed it. But it's getting there so I share it here for the first time: Click here to view my JMT 2014 Gear List

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