It seems really strange to be planning something that is six months out, but we are deep in it, combing over maps, discussing bear canisters, and fretting over logistics. I usually like to fly-by-night it, only deciding what I want to do the day before. Not this time.
Here, we have dates and alternate dates, trailheads and alternate ones, lotteries and faxing permit requests 24 weeks in advance, only between certain hours. Ugh! Of course, there are reasons for this, and we are the reason. Too. Many. People. I am officially Part of the Problem.
I have to laugh thinking of how jealously we guarded our wilderness solitude in Alaska. If another boat steamed into the bay we were in, we fumed and griped. Seeing someone else on the beautiful and mysterious Red Bluffs, we jumped a foot in amazement and declared the place overrun. Even here, except in the height of summer on the most popular trails, I can be completely alone. I did a 40 mile backpack trip this fall and in all that time only saw one person. Not going to happen on the JMT!
I don't care though. Ever since I set up my Tadpole tent (which I still need a front pole for--anyone got one out there?) at Rae Lakes and saw the thru-hikers pass by, I wanted to hike the whole thing. Anchored down by my summer seasonal job of collecting native plant seeds and willing them to grow in arid campgrounds, I could only manage three days out on the trails that ran along the Sierra's spine. I always had to turn back, wondering what I was missing. If seeing people and camping near them is the price I have to pay, I will do it. I know where to go to get solitude when I get back.
So it begins. The delicious purchasing of gear, the planning of meals, the poring over maps. Really, is there anything better than planning a trip, especially one you have dreamed of for twenty years? Bucket list, people.
So we wait until 5 pm on February 14th when other desperate souls will be lunging for the fax machine. Wish me luck!
Riddle me this, Batman...What is your dream trip? What holds you back? Or have you already done it? Was it as good as you imagined?