Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Final Note

Random post-JMT thoughts --

I've now done two "short" thru-hikes (the Camino de Santiago and the JMT).  I hike all the time at home and usually summit a mountain or two every week, but thru-hiking is different from day hiking.  When I day hike, I enjoy the woods/vista/mountain, but I look forward to getting back to the house in the evening for a shower and a good meal.  When I thru-hike, I live moment to moment.  Since I know I will not be going home for that shower and meal, I concentrate more on the environment I am in, the people I meet along the way, and my innermost thoughts.  It's a long-term meditation.

I now feel like I belong outside most of the time, and that, if I did not have two children, I would be content living in a tiny shack with just the bare necessities of life.  Don't get me wrong -- I love this chapter of my life, and it is my privilege and honor to share these years with Alex and Sage.  My daughters are my purpose right now, as they should be....when they go to college, however, I will be prepared to let them go so they can live their lives.  My purpose will appropriately change -- with every passing month, I feel my empty nest years will be spent hiking long-distance trails as long as my legs will keep moving.

From 2008 until now, and, hopefully, for at least a few more years, I have been/am so fortunate in having two of the best hiking companions anyone could ever ask for.  Alex and Sage are cheerful, sweet, and strong.  They are good company.  I can never assume they will want to hike throughout their childhoods -- it certainly looks that way right now, but teenage-hood is fast approaching and who knows where their independent spirits will take them.  I hope they will want to continue to join me every year (and every week, at home) in the mountains and on outdoor adventures.  I will treasure every day I have with them out there.  If and when they decide they want to hang up their hiking boots, then I will respect that decision.  As of right now, they want to do all the Terrifying 25 trails with me next summer, they want to ascend Idaho's Borah Peak, and they'd like to do another thru-hike if we can fit it into our 2015 schedule.  So I know I at least have one more year with them out there.  :)

As for JMT-specific advice -- I feel I addressed most everything I could offer in terms of my own experience in the blog and in the gear review section.  If anyone has any questions that aren't answered in my previous posts, then please feel free to email me at  I am no expert, of course.  However, if my experience thru-hiking this trail during the month of August in 2014 can be of use to anyone, then I'm happy to answer whatever questions I can.  Of course, what worked for me may or may not work for you.  HYOH.

Peace.  I don't yet know for sure which trail we will thru-hike next.  I'll post a note on my main blog when I have that information.

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