It all comes down to this. My pack sits ominously on the couch, weighing in at a hefty thirty pounds. Not even close to ultralight. For better or worse, our buckets have been mailed, regardless of whether tortillas and peanut butter will taste good on Day 10. There are rumors that the temperatures in Yosemite Valley will hover close to 100, on a 6000 foot climbing day. I've been training, but also eating the M&Ms that wouldn't fit in the buckets. The car leaves Sunday. We begin a week from today, our first mile that will eventually add up to 220.
On the scale of epic-ness, this doesn't rate very high. Tons of people trod this beaten path. There are guidebooks. Our only schedule is self-imposed, and with hiker barrels, it is unlikely we will starve. It's out there, but it's not out there.
But that is fine with me. I've been out there, toting a shotgun, bashing through brush, walking on logs high over the forest floor. I have dreamed of this trodden path for a long time, an arrow from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney. I don't do trips for bragging rights. I do them for how they will make me feel.
What I want from this trip are many things. I want to write again, because lately the well has run dry. It's not for lack of ideas; it's because I sit at a computer for ten hours a day and when that is done, I am done too. I want to learn patience that comes from being with a group, because honestly, groups annoy me sometimes, but patience is a skill I continue to try to learn. I want also to get back inside the mountain's skin, to adjust to a rhythm of the outdoors, the beat of a granite heart.
There are a host of last minute things. Clean the house. Pick some radishes. Obsess over what clothes to leave in the car, and which to send back from Yosemite once we embark. Be sad over leaving the husband, but feel good that there is someone around that I will miss, for a change, a reason to come back.
For now I say to everyone here, to the mountains and the rivers and the people I've grown to really care about: I'll be back. Don't forget me while I'm gone.