A year from now, I will be in an epic struggle against the Sierra Mountains. My trip to Lone Pine, California took me to the foothills of this grand range and forced me to stare all day at my fate. As I looked upon the snow-covered peaks, I thought of the hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail currently doing battle and how I will adapt to the challenge awaiting me. The thought of it all both terrified and exhilarated me. On most occasions in my life when I have been filled with this sort of dissonance, it means something magical is about to happen and I should enjoy the ride.
I continue to practice hiking in the deserts of California because next year I know this will be my life for 700 miles. I am also doing it because the temperature and weather allow it. Still, on a day when the thermometer doesn’t hit 80 degrees, I find myself sweating, chaffing, and chasing sand from my shoes. This practice is providing tremendous lessons on water management, clothing options to avoid unnecessary rubbing in places where you don’t want to rub, and the value of gaiters. For me, I would rather learn these lessons now than not know them at all on the PCT.
Pick Your Own Adventure
The vista dominating the landscape of Movie Road Trail is all-encompassing and mesmerizing. It is intoxicating and demands a closer look. In fact, it might lure you out of your car, force you to head in the wrong direction, and into a slight panic of where the actual trail is. After you get your sense of direction figured out, the trail opens to a road meant for RV’s and ATV’s. Walking along the road, you’re invited to explore trails meandering through rock formations and even grander views. After exploring, you’re led back to the road and keep pressing forward. After hours of walking, you arrive at an intersection. I took this opportunity to rest, eat some food, drink some water, and play war with flies. This minor annoyance didn’t matter. I found myself staring at a mountain range beyond compare.
My first solo hike was in May of 2013. The trail led to Glacier Basin inside of Mt. Rainier National Park. Since then, I have done countless solo hikes, not out of desire but necessity. I still prefer the company of others because many of these moments are too profound to experience on your own. With that said, there is something powerful about depending solely on yourself as you venture out into the wild. The pace, breaks, and even the trail itself is all in your hands. For me, this means I get to create my own experience and shape it into the fashion of my choosing.
After this trail, I am turning my attention to more mountainous hikes in the Sierra’s. Before stepping on the PCT, I am planning a couple more trips to the desert, but it will be a relief to turn my attention to a different type of terrain. I am sure this is how I will feel hiking the PCT. After 700 miles isolated in the desert, I am positive Kennedy Meadows brings a feeling of accomplishment and reinvigorates the senses as they long for something new and the varying challenges that lie ahead.
Be good to each other,
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