- Part One
Back in 2004, Mike and I headed out west for a couple of weeks to visit with friends in San Jose and go to Yosemite. It was like nothing I had ever seen! So incredible and amazing and completely awe-inspiring. It’s a place you must experience for yourself, as images do it little justice. We visited the sites in the valley for a day or so and then headed out into the backcountry for a true wilderness experience. It took at least an entire day to plan and pack for our trip. There’s little margin when you’re in the backcountry, so you have to make sure you are prepared. My Eagle Scout AT thru-hiker had us all taken care of 🙂
We were out for 5 nights and did about 55-60 miles with a bear canister! You are required to carry a canister that carries ALL your food and items that smell so you don’t attract any grizzly bears, which would be a terrible thing. We did actually run across a grizzly, a snake, a coyote and numerous other animals. It takes massive skill to pack all your food for 5 days in a canister roughly the size of a basketball!
We did what’s called “ultra-light” backpacking, too. My pack only weighed about 12 lbs and Mike’s was 22lbs. I was suffering with lots of pain in the beginning stages of my fibromyalgia, so a lighter pack was a necessity! When Mike started out on the Appalachian Trail in ’96, his pack weighed about 60lbs!! He went on a “diet” very soon thereafter. For this trip, he made our tent, sleeping blanket, stove (out of a beer can), wind shirts, “down” jackets and stuff sacks so we could be super light. Yeah, he’s pretty much an all-around badass 🙂
There’s something about being out in this kind of serene beauty that’s truly indescribable. It calms the mind. It soothes the soul. It inspires. It’s where I’m most at peace. I look at these images and it’s hard to believe that I was in so much pain most of the time. I kept going. I pushed through. The pain was worth every second of this experience. I was very proud of myself and I knew I could do hard things.
I could go on and on and share crazy and amazing stories, but I’m sharing all of this for a reason. We took our kids to this magical place last year and it was amazing. Part 2 of this story is coming soon!