I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs, backpacking or otherwise. But when I have a little bit of extra time there are a few I like to check. Mostly hikers in the UK, especially those who frequently hike in Scotland, where the weather is often terrible and they just deal with it.
I especially enjoy a handful of “old” hikers close to my age (over 60) who hike often and can do the same kind of hikes (mileage and terrain) comparable to people half or even a third of our age. Here is a list of the “old” guys, and I am sure there are a lot more out there. I have never met or corresponded with any of them, but their Internet persona and blog content makes for good reading.
All my life I have been a voracious reader. Unfortunately there has been little fiction or non-fiction written since 1957 worth reading. So I spend most of my reading time catching up with the classics I have not read, or re-reading the best of the best.
For some reason I can’t explain, my reading seems to be theme-based. That is, I read about specific subjects or read specific authors without interruption. Currently I am re-reading most of John Muir’s works. A couple years ago my theme was the writings of our founding fathers and those great minds that influenced them. Last year it was mostly Jack London and then Victor Hugo.
In the past I posted a couple of articles: Solo Backpacking and Solo Backpacking: Crazy and Dangerous? For some reason, I get the greatest criticism about hiking solo from other backpackers. This might infer that backpackers have greater knowledge about the dangers of solo walking than non-backpackers, or perhaps I come across as elitist. I couldn’t disagree more. In my opinion, hiking alone is safer than hiking in a group.
This weekend I completed a May “trifecta” of sorts. Nothing epic or out of the ordinary. Earlier this month I posted about trips to the desert and the ocean, and this weekend I capped those trips with a mountain backpacking trip.
After doing several hikes in the desert over the past three weeks, I decided it was time for a change. First option is usually to go up into the mountains, since our home is surrounded by mountains. But I decided to take a different kind of trip; a pilgrimage of sorts – to the beach.
The John Muir Trail (JMT) runs from Yosemite to Mount Whitney, a distance of 211 miles. Mile for mile, it is one of the most beautiful hikes in the US; and as you would expect, it is very crowded in the summer. I first hiked most of the JMT in 1971. At the time I had never heard of it, and hiking from Kernville to Mount Whitney I found the trail on my map. I almost made it all the way to Yosemite, but descending from Tuolumne Meadows I was put off by the crowds on the trail; turned around and hiked back to Kernville.
I didn’t plan this trip, just packed my gear and headed out for a few months. Today I am amused by the number of people posting on the Internet asking for help in planning their JMT hike. People asking what they should eat, what they should wear, what kind of a shelter they need or do they need a shelter, what sleeping system, what rain gear, how should they purify water, etc., etc., etc., not to mention all the “what if” questions.