(Buckets of food and other backpack paraphernalia.)
(First week’s grub)
Today begins my John Muir Trail quest. A year’s worth of planning, gear purchases, route planning, food recipes, resupply buckets, reservations, training and pack weighing has all come to this moment. Here I sit at 5 am with a new New Mexico address and a Hawaii liscence at the Albuquerque airport ready to board my flight to Reno, Nevada. I’m numb from the constant barrage of stress that I’ve had over the last 6 months of life. A possible move to New Hampshire, the failed move to New Hampshire, the job offer in Albuquerque, the discussions of moving, the logistics of moving, leaving my job and training someone new, packing, cleaning, saying goodbye to 11 years of Maui life and friends we love, living in a hotel and an empty rental home, getting our son registered for school, trying to make last minute arrangements, spending hours on food preparations and making sure my resupply got mailed out in time. Does my writing sound disjointed and chaotic? Well, that’s just how it’s been for months now. Exciting? Yes, but right now I just feel a bone-weary tiredness and numbness that isn’t letting up. Today just feels like yet another day of stress. Did I leave my wallet at the house in Makawao? Did I separate what I need in Albuquerque right away from what goes to John Muir and what gets put on a cargo ship? Oh wait...that was a couple of weeks ago. Now is now. One day at a time. Today it’s, will I get to Reno in time to catch the bus? Will my permit really be waiting for me at the visitor center outside of Lone Pine, CA? Will Delta lose my 31 pound backpack that has all of my life essentials for the next 30 days? DID I FORGET ANYTHING???!!! Deep breathe...just go with it...worrying will do you no good. If it can be fixed, then fIx it. If it is out of your control it can’t be helped.
That is the Japanese saying for, “It can’t be helped”.
Going on a trek like this is a lot like having a kid..,you’re NEVER ready.
Now I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City airport bound for Reno. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the mountains look a two-dimensional shade of brown. Is this smoke haze or just typical atmospheric dust that is characteristic of a high-desert climate always subject to a high-pressure weather system? Smoke haze...yeah...fires in Yosemite. Thanks to the Furgeson Fire that has chewed up 95,000 acres, Yosemite is closed. Is it still going to be closed a month from now when I am scheduled to exit the northern terminus of the JMT before flying home? Is the bus still running from the Yosemite visitor center to get me to Fresno? Will I see much of anything on this hike or will I be smoked out? Right now, I’m not sure how I will return home. Right now, I need to just think about today. Flight to Reno, bus to Lone Pine.
(Flight over Salt Lake)
Lovely Reno...visibility is a whopping 4 miles today. Furgeson Fire in Yosemite is roughly 180 miles south of here. Now I get to sit here at the airport for several hours and then take a 5.5 hour bus ride to Lone Pine. \240What should I do? \240Gamble away all of my money? \240I think I’ll find a relaxing place to get a bite to eat instead. \240
(You know your in Reno when...)
(Kudos Delta for not losing my pack!!)
And I’m off like a dirty shirt, wizzing along the highway in a bus enroute to Lone Pine! I’ve already met a couple of other JTM hikers. One of them is starting north and ending south so I will likely pass him on the trail. The scenery is gorgeous, but smoky. \240
(Nevada, somewhere along 395)
I finally reached Lone Pine after sitting on a bus for 5.5 hours. \240At one point the smoke haze was so thick you could look directly at the sun. \240The farther south we went though, it cleared up considerably. \240Smoke haze is still here, but not as bad as closer to Yosemite. \240I was in good company on the bus. \240All six of us were chatting about...what else? \240Hiking the JMT! \240Two folks just finished and I met a mom and her daughter who are going the same direction as I am. \240Everyone is so helpful and friendly. \240I can already feel the trail magic tingling! \240Tomorrow I get my permit and head for the Sierras!
(Mt Whitney looming in the distance)