JMT Day 7: The Trail is 50% Mental

Date: 8/24/17 | Miles Hiked: 17.3 | Passes: Silver

It’s fitting for me to come to this portion of my hike on Halloween. Why? Because it includes my scariest night on the trail.

Night 6 and the Mystery Neighbor

I woke up on night six to the sound of twigs breaking. Any feelings of grogginess were immediately trampled by my racing heart as the rustling noises continued.

Something was outside, and it was approaching my tent. Continue reading “JMT Day 7: The Trail is 50% Mental”

Are We Doomed to Phone Addiction… Even in the Backcountry?

I like to consider myself a person who can handle life without my cell phone and all the glorious technology it offers better than the average human.

I can leave it in a different room for a good chunk of the day. If I forget it at home when I go to work or run errands I only have a split-second panic attack. I can easily go without it when camping or spending time with friends.

I have the ability to sit in nothingness and just think or observe without reaching for a device to scroll. Growing up with a tendency to get lost in my own thoughts helped me master that dying art.

This is why I was surprised at how often I reached for my phone or glanced at my GPS watch while backpacking the John Muir Trail. Continue reading “Are We Doomed to Phone Addiction… Even in the Backcountry?”

JMT Day 6: Deja Vu, But Reversed

Date: 8/23/17 | Miles Hiked: 14

The sounds of coyotes paired with a particularly chilly evening made for a difficult night’s sleep. A thick layer of frost on my bear canister in the morning made me feel justified for freezing in my tent the night before (apparently I needed proof that it was cold?).

Today’s hike took me along a section of trail my husband and I had done northbound last year. I already think about him often on the trail, and today he was on my mind constantly. Continue reading “JMT Day 6: Deja Vu, But Reversed”

The Dangers of Being Labeled a Climber

I climb, but I’m not a climber.

To me, taking on that label requires more consistency and an effort to improve in the sport. I’ve been climbing for five years and have never ascended anything harder than a 5.10 (for those unfamiliar, this grade is considered intermediate).

This is because I only really go out and climb a handful of times each year. To get better, you need to climb consistently. You need to do scary things like take big falls, get on uncomfortable routes, and, most frightening of all, interact with strangers in an attempt to find climbing partners. Continue reading “The Dangers of Being Labeled a Climber”

JMT Day 5: $12 Shower Feels Like a Million Bucks

Date: 8/22/17 | Miles Hiked: 14.7

This was it: the day of my first resupply. I was heading to Red’s Meadow and had spent a while thinking about how much time I should spend there, considering the fact that I was a half day behind my original plan. Continue reading “JMT Day 5: $12 Shower Feels Like a Million Bucks”

Everything You Need to Know About Yurts in Colorado & Wyoming

Think your days of rustic outdoor lodging are gone with the season? Consider adding a yurt stay to your deck of outdoor adventure cards. While plenty of people tent camp in the winter, yurts add an element of cozy comfort without losing complete sense of the term, “roughing it.” Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know About Yurts in Colorado & Wyoming”

JMT Day 4: Scots Love the Sierras

Date: 8/21/17 | Miles Hiked: 15.6 | Passes: Donohue, Island

Trail life had been getting to me. The delayed start to my trip caused a swelling anxiety to interfere with the what was supposed to be a relatively stress-free time in my life.

I spent evenings thinking about how I would catch up to my original plan and days cursing the climbs and water-soaked trails that slowed me down. I knew this stress was self-inflicted and unnecessary, yet I couldn’t shake it. And the fact that I couldn’t shake it gave me even more anxiety and caused me to dislike myself and question my sense of adventure. Continue reading “JMT Day 4: Scots Love the Sierras”

25 Reasons Camping After Binge-Watching The Walking Dead is a Bad Idea

The excitement of scary movies and television shows is part of fall’s allure. But if you have an overactive imagination, the fear doesn’t stop once the TV’s turned off. And depending on what you’re watching, the fear can be intensified when paired with an overnight trip in the great outdoors.

To prepare for season 8 of The Walking Dead, I’ve been catching up on old episodes through the magic of Netflix.

One thing I’ve realized? Camping and zombies don’t mix. If you plan to watch a buttload of The Walking Dead and then head out for some tent time, be prepared for the consequences.

Continue reading “25 Reasons Camping After Binge-Watching The Walking Dead is a Bad Idea”

JMT Day 3: Am I There Yet?

Date: 8/20/17 | Miles Hiked: 17.5 | Passes: Cathedral

Today felt long.

My hike was mostly flat or downhill — a much welcomed change to yesterday’s uphill battle — but nothing is easy with 30+ pounds strapped to your back.

The trail brought me into the heart of Yosemite, taking me over Cathedral Peak, across Tioga Road and through Toulumne Meadows. You’d think this would be a magical part of the trail, but it was actually one of the toughest sections, mentally.

Continue reading “JMT Day 3: Am I There Yet?”

5 Tips to Start Hiking Earlier While Backpacking

Backpacking trips that require major mileage also require early rises. Getting to camp before the sun goes down is the goal, and it’s nice to have some buffer time for lunch and longer breaks.

But those of us who don’t consider ourselves morning people are especially not morning people when faced with the cold, sometimes wet mornings the mountains have to offer.

So how can you get from sleeping bag to the trail as quickly as possible with minimum morning suffering? Here are a few ideas. Continue reading “5 Tips to Start Hiking Earlier While Backpacking”