John Muir Trail, Here I Come!

I’m sitting back with a glass of wine at Mammoth Mountain in California wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into this time. I’m both excited and scared.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with my dad and stepmom and on Friday I start a 220 mile backpacking journey through the Sierras. I’m excited to see my folks and to spend the next few days on the trail with them. And I’m excited to see them again on August 27th when we rendezvous (hopefully!) near Kearsarge Pass for our last 48 mile push to Mount Whitney.

I’m scared about the 10 day stretch in the middle I’ll be solo and completely on my own.

I’ve done lots of solo traveling. And lots of solo hiking. Doing things on my own just doesn’t bother me. But this time, for whatever reason, it does.

During most of my solo travels I’ve never been far from civilization or from help. Even the hikes and adventures I’ve done alone have been at most a few hours away from something. This time I’ll be days away from anything. Sure, there will likely be tons of people out there – the John Muir Trail is seeing lots of traffic these days! It still doesn’t change the fact that for 10 days I’m seriously out there…

…in a place I’ve never been…

…completely reliant on myself to handle anything that may come up.


No pressure.

The last few weeks I’ve been prepping like a madwoman for this trip and trying to plan for all the things that could happen. I’ve had lists and more lists that I’ve cross referenced with even more lists. I think my brain had a meltdown!

Here it is… the gear for the trip! Looks like a lot but I’m on my own for a while. And it stills weighs in the low 30lb range.

The gear organizing went quickly but packaging food resupplies was much tougher. I initially had no idea how I would fit enough food for this trip into my tiny BearVault Soloist bear canister. Then Liz Hampton and the Adventure Film School came to my rescue! They wanted to do a video series on how to dehydrate food for the backcountry and since I was in need of food for my trip it was a match made in heaven!

A dehydrated marinara sauce I can pair with spaghetti or quinoa and tuna or chicken. Amazing!

They gave me a crash course on food dehydration and helped me make lots of lightweight and nutritious food for my journey. AND it packs down small and fits into my bear canister! I really can’t thank them enough.

Dehydrated lemon/date bars. Yummy!!

They’ll be posting more info on their blog about food dehydration along with a guest post by yours truly, so I’ll share the link when it’s up! If you haven’t tried food dehydrating you really should! I couldn’t believe how easy and cheap it is to make some tasty meals for the backcountry. Everyone should do it!

The food resupply for my longest trail stretch. I sure hope it’s enough!

With all my gear and food prep finished I just keep thinking about everything I packed. And if it’s enough. Or too much. I keep worrying about all those things that I have absolutely no control over.

  • What if I get caught in weather?
  • What if I hurt myself? (Given my track record that’s not entirely a long shot!)
  • What if I get sick?
  • What if I end up camping out there completely alone with no one around for miles?
  • What if I run out of food?
  • What if I simply can’t do the mileage?

I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite childhood poets Shel Silverstein and his poem “The Whatifs”:

Last night, while I lay thinking here,

Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear

And pranced and partied all night long

And sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I’m dumb in school?

Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pol?

Whatif I get beat up?

Whatif there’s poison in my cup?

Whatif I start to cry?

Whatif I get sick and die?

Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?


Well, you get the idea. If you want the whole poem you can go Google it.
I realize you can’t really live your life wondering “what if”. You just have to go do it.

So here I go, hoping that once I start putting one foot in front of the other my brain will quiet down and I can trust in myself that I can do this crazy thing! And that I can handle anything that may come up, no matter what it might be. Because after all, my favorite quote of all time is Dr Seuss:

“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!”

If you’d like to follow along, I have a SPOT tracker sending back my location. It makes me feel better knowing everyone  can keep an eye on me and know where I am.

Big thanks to those who helped me prep for this trip! I’ll post updates whenever I can and look forward to seeing everyone again in September. Here’s to good karma and a great adventure! And I’ll take all the positive trail vibes I can get!