…your biggest concern for the day wasn’t sitting in traffic making your way to the office or your first appointment, but instead was walking 10+ miles with 30++ pounds on your back in search of your next home for the night and more importantly a good source for drinking water. That’s the agenda. Period. All the while taking in the magical sights, smells and sounds along each day’s journey.
This thought hit me as I was sitting in San Diego traffic yesterday after spending four days and three nights in the John Muir Wilderness, making my way back home.
I met a solo woman hiker on the trail (many of them actually,) about 15 minutes from the Kearsarge Pass trailhead. She was just getting her day/journey started. Mine was just ending. My guess is that she was in her early 80s, fully equipped with an old school exterior frame backpack, covered from head to toe in sun protected garb, a small woman of stature with enormous confidence and ear-to-ear grin under her wide brimmed hat. This wasn’t her first rodeo!
“Where you headin’?” The number one question you would hear and ask out there on the trails. How quickly you get into that groove. Her response, “I’m heading to Bullfrog Lake.” Having just been out there, I knew exactly where that was and what it takes to get there. Kearsarge Pass alone is 4.5 miles to the top with an elevation gain of 2,600 feet, and at that altitude with a full pack you might be doing less than one mile per hour. Then she says, “I have a secret camp spot above and away from the lake. Hopefully the creek is running or I’ll have to find another place for the night.” You are not permitted to camp within 1/4 mile of that particular lake. So like I said…not her first rodeo.
Impressed and inspired. Not so much for the want or desire to hike out THERE alone, but the fact that here is a woman not being halted by age, stature or gender from going WILD! I wanted to ask her so many more questions, but she had a full day ahead of her and me, as she clearly pointed out, I had about 15 minutes to the end of the trail and this particular point in my #sixty60journey—hike #54.
So many great tales from the trails. I imagine myself returning to Kearsarge Pass one day, if only to interview those passing through and over it, with one question in mind — “Where you headin’?”