I journeyed big in my youth and would love to provide that experience for my family. Existing outside of the normal day-to-day life while traveling by my own power and pursuing a goal is something that I enjoy. I feel vital when navigating through ‘unknown space’ and welcome the break from being in control of ‘my own space’. It is good to be versatile and adaptable in life and travel. I believe the best trip of my life is ahead of me.
….when I was hiking the JMT the mountain passes were not going to line up well with my scheduled pace so I decided to do a longer day than planned. The idea was to setup my future days as climbs in the morning and decent in the afternoons. The moon was full the night before and brighter than any I’ve ever seen, so figured I’d hike until afternoon, stop to bathe in a river, cook dinner and do the long climb at night. A little before dark I started walking again. Soon it was getting dark and since the moon was coming up on the other side of the mountain it got plenty dark. My headlamp was on my head but not on. I walked in the dark alone, sometimes in areas of tree cover where it was basically pitch black, but I could feel the trail. So, I left the light off. It felt good to have the heightened mental stimulation of an unfamiliar situation. Of course my mind wandered to the place where everyone’s wanders when they are walking in the woods at night, alone. The place where the bears are. It didn't help that up ahead were places to come like ‘Bear Creek’ and ‘Bear Ridge’, or ‘Bear Trail’. I just kept walking in the dark, listening to my breath and sound of my poles hitting the ground as I ascended a long section of switchbacks. The moon was yet to be fully visible, but the sky was glowing now and I could see well enough to keep a full pace as I climbed.
It was all rhythm now. Left foot and right pole, right foot and left pole, left foot and right pole, right foot and left pole. Turn around to the right. Step, step, step, step, step, step, turn around to the left. Over and over, up and up, heart rate elevate, heightened sense of awareness and self. And thats when it happened. For few moments, a few minutes, a few switchbacks, in the moonlight with my pack on, in the wilderness, alone, with nothing in front of me but the trail, I felt like I could go on forever. Like I was perpetual, unstoppable , tireless, endless.
I guess that’s one of the reasons I need to do these things. For those fleeting moments when I feel like I can just go forever.