I intended to get these posts out on the internets a long time ago, but life has a way of picking right back up where you leave off after vacation, doesn’t it?!
If you haven’t read about the preparation for the JMT, or don’t know what the JMT is, you should read the three posts I wrote earlier this summer (the intro, the meal planning, and the resupplying) before you get started here. Or else you’ll be really lost, and I ain’t got time to tell the backstory again ;).
So! It is nearly 2 months since Jennifer and I completed the John Muir Trail (yes! we made it!), and I so want to tell my experience. I hope the entries in my journal and the pictures we took will refresh my memory enough to paint the picture accurately, but I tell you, this journey was so entirely amazing, beautiful, breath-taking, and life-changing that I just know I can’t do it justice completely. I will try…
My hope is to post a short snippet of each day on the trail, retracing our steps, our meals, and the ups and downs (both mentally and physically) along the way. Between Jennifer and myself (& Chris!), and the many friends we made on the JMT, I think we have some really great stories. And of course, anyone who undertakes this sort of journey has their own unique experience, so Jennifer and I will have completely and totally different accounts of this trip. Maybe I can rope her into chiming in on occasion…
So here goes, with the day before, what we folks in hiker-land call DAY ZERO.
DAY 0 of 20
Day ZERO is the day before shit gets really real. But it still felt pretty damn real on this day. Day 0 is 7/24/15, Friday. Jennifer and Jon flew in to San Francisco late Wednesday night. The timing of the trip had honestly worked out perfectly, as Jon and Chris had tickets to a concert on Thursday, which meant that both of them would be able to head down to Yosemite to see us off on the big adventure.
Of course, Friday was a work day for me since I barely had enough time off for the JMT as it were. Around noon, I’d gotten all my ‘to-dos’ off my plate, and felt ok about shutting down the laptop. The hardest task on Day 0 was packing the car – as you can see, we have a tiny Mini Cooper – Chris and I had ‘practice-packed’ a few weeks ago and were confident everything would fit – but knew it would be a tight squeeze.
Needless to say, we finally got the dang car packed without an inch to spare. Four hours later, we were in Yosemite National Park pulling up to the permit office. Five minutes after that, we had permits in our grubby little hands! All I remember about those 5 minutes is how prepared I felt – how badass we were for doing this, or trying this. And how I was so relieved that he found our name…relieving my paranoid fear that our permit was all a big hoax. Nope – it was legit, and this was really happening.
The picture below makes me laugh. I can’t tell how I feel, but Jennifer looks a little terrified. Or maybe just crazy. What am I doing hiking 20 days with this crazy person??!! ha ha
Also, please make note of our sunglasses – both in great shape. This will change at some point…
Anyway, this is about it for Day 0. We got the permit, we wandered around Yosemite a little, and we grabbed a fancy-but-shitty dinner before heading to our hotel at the Yosemite View Lodge.
Chris had gotten me a journal to take on the JMT and had written a little snippet in it each day for me to read at the end of every day (how cute, right?!). For Day 0, he started with a quote:
“Strength: A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence” – Lara Croft
Ok yeah, he wrote a Tomb Raider quote. But I thought it was entirely appropriate – this trip was going to take a whole lotta persistence – that was no joke.
What did I write that night? Not much – I was in disbelief that we were starting this journey the next day. Six months of saying we were going to apply for permits, 4 actual days of applying for permits and hundreds of faxes (yes, faxes) later, and six more months of planning – resupplies, food prep, gear purchasing, miles and miles of hiking practice – all of which led up to one big day – tomorrow.
Needless to say, it was hard to sleep that night, but I tried to remind myself how much I’d soon miss that bed, the pillows, and the warm body (that wasn’t Jennifer’s!) by my side.
Daily Miles: ZERO
Mileage Tally: ZERO
Elevation: Somewhere around 4,000 feet