1. Mark Gerow
    Mark Gerow April 4, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Thank you Ray. I’ll be North bounding with my 18 year old this year..good advice.


  2. Russell Reinertson
    Russell Reinertson April 4, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Round about day 16 of my hike, I was really feeling tired, and a bit lonely. I’d been pushing harder than planned to meet a horse packer on time, and didn’t eat much of a dinner the night before. Looking at a long climb up Mather Pass, I pulled out the headphones and began listening to music while walking. It was the first time I’d listened to any music since starting, and it really helped to get me going. That is until the song Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin came on…I’d been starting to miss my wife and 3y/o son, and was practically in tears by the first chorus. I hiked on, since every step was taking me closer to the finish, but I was feeling even more blue for a little bit by that song. Still, listening to music that day helped me get through an unexpectedly tough morning….Just be sure you don’t include Cats in the Cradle on the playlist!!!

    1. Mark B.
      Mark B. April 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

      I pulled out the music for the first time at the base of the Golden Staircase. I don’t normally hike to music, but the pleasure of listening to music for the first time in a long while really lifted my spirits and I ascended the Staircase rather easily (relatively speaking). Surprisingly, the music connected me more strongly to the trail at that moment rather than distancing me from it, which it typically does for me. I was fully immersed in the hike and savoring the wonderful scenery even in the midst of a tough climb.

      I wound up pulling out the music a few more times during tough ascents.

  3. Tom Bauman
    Tom Bauman April 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I have some comments, but first….

    “Cats in the Cradle”? Really?!!
    That’s like the most depressing song ever written.
    Do you also have “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Everybody Hurts” on your playlist?
    Sorry, had to get that out.

    Thank you, Ray for this topic. I find all of your info helpful, or at least interesting, but this one hit home for me.
    I started the JMT last August (solo) and after the first few days of normal difficulty, was moving along good, but hit an unexpected emotional wall around Mott Lake Trail that drove me to bail out at VVR.
    Reasons I settled on: Missed my kids a lot, or at least being able to talk to them, got very lonely and went into solitude overload. I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore.
    I think had I spent a rest day at VVR and regained my perspective, I could have gone on, and I regret not doing so.
    Fortunately, I’m picking up where I left off starting August 16 with a much better game plan this time, and a DeLorme In-Reach so I can talk to my family when I need or want to.
    I’m also going to make a better effort to talk to others on the trail, beyond the cordial hello and quick exchange of usual questions. Need to be more social at campsites, too, but everyone seems pretty spent for the day, and I don’t want to bother them.

    If anyone’s out there this year, I hope we cross paths.
    Thanks again, Ray.

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