It hardly seems possible to me, but my next adventure is really just around the corner. On July 5, I’ll be flying to Reno, then taking a bus to Mammoth Lakes, where I will be meeting my team: Lighterknot, Tee Bird, and her husband, Joe. Tee Bird and Joe have hiked several times in the recent past, while Lighterknot and his lovely wife, Deb, are soon heading for Ireland to do some warm-up hiking.
Me? I walked around our neighbourhood yesterday and totally knackered myself. This was a similar outcome to an earlier hike, of about six miles, which I did in early May. I have put on a fair chunk of weight since I returned from the A.T., so I imagine that may have had something to do with those less than stellar performances. However, I feel fine this morning, which is an improvement on my six miler, when I took about 48 hours to shake the aching from my legs. It is extraordinary how out of shape you can become when you sit on your backside and write for a year.
I’m not terribly worried about the legs, as they will get better the more I walk. My bigger concern for the John Muir Trail is the altitude at which we’ll be hanging out. We start at about 8,500 feet and climb to over 10,000 feet in the first day or so. Over the three or four weeks we’ll be dropping down to about 4,000 feet, but will spend a fair chunk of time over 10,000 feet, finishing on the top of Mount Whitney—the highest point in the lower 48 states—before hiking another 30 miles to find a road. I’m not one for taking too much medication (something of a rarity over here), but I have asked my doctor to prescribe me some altitude sickness pills for the trip. I’ll start taking them when I get to Mammoth Lakes and that should stave off the worst effects.
That additional 30 miles at the end, by the way, is because we have been unable to get hold of a permit to exit through Whitney Portal. This adds two or three days to the end of the hike but by that time we should all be hiking like pack horses.
I’ve been looking at my kit and hope that it will all suffice for one more hike. My tent has been repaired and I know that my backpack needs some attention. The sleeping quilt and pad seem to have retained the rather interesting smell with which they returned, so they need a little bit of TLC as well. These are just teething troubles and will all be sorted out before I set off.
One last thing for the time being. Mighty Blue will be returning in all his (my) bald glory. I’ll be getting my friend Wendell to shave me within an inch of my life and, basically, shine me up ready for the big day. Looking at the previous pictures, that may be ill-advised, yet I know that the haircut will get me back in the mood to go at it.