Welcome to the last day of the year. So, how did 2013 go?
What did you do in 2013 that you will remember twenty years later, in 2033?
Would you like to do something, next year, you’ll remember in 2034?
You know where this is going, right?
If you’ve “always” wanted to do something amazing, like hiking the John Muir Trail, why not make 2014 the year you take a journey you’ll remember forever?
The JMT is just about the perfect quest for those of us who do not typically embark on grand adventures. Sure, you could climb Mount Everest, but that takes an enormous commitment to train, and you can do everything right and still fail to get to the top. An African safari takes forever just to get there, and costs a fortune. Bungee jumping is over too quick, especially if the bungee breaks.
How about an endeavor that is plenty challenging, relative safe, and won’t break the bank? Nothing fits that bill quite as well as a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. It’s the ideal adventure-of-a-lifetime for people who may only have one.
If you select your dates carefully, you can be all but assured of benign weather (about the only danger in late summer and early fall is lightning, and that can be minimized by following some simple rules). There are few navigation challenges, and if you do take a wrong turn, it’s usually onto a trail that will lead you out of the wilderness, not deeper into it. There is almost no exposure to falls.
You’ll need a shelter of some type, a sleep system, and a decent pair of boots or trail runners. The best and lightest of these can be pricey, but we’re talking a gear list that, at the most, might cost a couple thousand dollars. If you’re willing to make a little of your own gear (which is often better), it could cost you less than $1,000.
When you’re done you will have hiked over 220 miles, crossed eight major passes, and summited the tallest peak in the forty-eight continuous states. That may not be challenging on an Everest scale, but it’s plenty tough enough.
Welcome to the last day of 2013. What will you do in 2014 that you will remember forever?
Good hiking, Ray