There is a power that continues to call us to the wild. The wilderness wildness has a virtue that speaks to our souls. We are planning our next adventure into the depths of the Sierra Nevada’s on a 152-mile trek in July 2018. We are attempting to get our permits for Yosemite, desiring a final rush of hiking the epic Half Dome to conclude our hike.
But if we can’t finish there, we are wanting to at least start in Yosemite trying to squeeze in the chains of Half Dome before pushing Northbound to Meeks Bay of Lake Tahoe. After completing our John Muir trek apparently our enthusiasm became contagious and there are now three more women wanting to pursue the outdoor world of thru-hiking this summer with us on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Our direction will be northbound or southbound depending on what permits we get through Yosemite (that’s a whole story and process in and of itself).
The first ‘planning’ meeting took place in a booth in a bar (that was a bad idea-definitely not the best call so far). It was difficult to hear each other but we got to the permit forms and the process was explained. I brought all three maps out and had highlighted the PCT trail we plan to traverse. It is a little daunting to look at maps encompassing several different wilderness areas and follow your finger on the trail that goes top to bottom of the whole map-that’s a lot of HIKING! We started to discuss gear and food but figured it would be best to have an additional meeting, not in bar, to discuss both in detail. The other three women have done a lot of day hiking and some over nights but never gone for a long thru-hike. Hopefully, some of what Gwen and I learned on the John Muir Trail will be of benefit.
We are all over fifty and the allure of such an adventure could have been percolating in each of us for years just waiting for the right moment in time for all things to be perfectly aligned for July 2018 to be a thru-hike we will all do together. Our lives have all been very different and yet similar. We have all been wives, some more than once, some still are. Two of us are widows. We are all moms with ages of our children ranging from 12 to 35. Some of us work and some of us don’t but we all love to hike. We are approaching the planning of our thru-hike with experience and determination to be as prepared as possible. As always, the little motto is being repeated “grams equal ounces, ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain”. Our preparation for our trip includes physical training too. We meet at least once a week to work out together running the stadium stairs. And we try to hike together on a weekly basis also.
Living in Arizona is a blessing in the winter because the weather lends itself to being outside. We can hike in comfort and train on trails while using our “Alltrails” app on our phones. There are so many trails available in the Tucson area and using the All Trails app makes finding them and staying on them a lot easier. Gone are the days of a compass and a lot of guessing. Rock cairns are so beneficial but not always present. Using a user-friendly app takes the worry out of getting lost while getting familiar with new trails. Exploring Arizona is an endless task and “ExploreArizona” on Instagram provides inspiration for new beautiful places to be examined while hiking with ‘training’ as the pretense. From the desert floors with the Sonoran flora to the mountain tops covered in Pondarosa Pines the diverse ecosystems and topography of Arizona continues to provide diversity to our hiking adventures. Explore Arizona on Instagram consistently provides photographs of “have to see” places in our incredible state.
With a Grand Canyon hike coming next month it will give us a good gauge as to how far we have come in our physical training goals. March is planned with another trek to Northern Arizona around the Page area for day hiking. We are hoping to hit the Vermillion Cliffs, Coyote Bluffs, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and sneak into Utah for a day trip to Escalante Grand Staircase for one more day hike. We all agree that thru-hikes justify day hikes and that any hike feeds our souls through walking on our soles! W
I’ll keep posting in our planning in hopes to inspire and share information at the same time.