Last year I summited Mt. Whitney on Father’s Day and climbed up and over Forester Pass on my dad’s birthday. If I wasn’t already thinking about Dad, my encounters with three separate fathers-with-daughters hiking the JMT seemed to say “Hey Girl, who taught you to backpack? Way back, when your little legs were strong enough to carry only a sleeping bag and some snacks, who led the way into the Montana mountains in the summertime? That’s right, your pops.”
When I exited for resupply in Bishop, I wrote my dad a letter telling him that, before life gets in the way, we needed to go for a good long walk in the woods together. So we agreed to hike the John Muir Trail.
After scattered phone conversations and broken email chains, criss-crossing lists of gear and food and to-dos, today we walked side by side, weaving through the aisles of Costco, inspecting nutritional information and debating between granola bars (though I’ve learned that they’re all pretty bad after a while). Afterwards we heaped the food onto the dining room table to examine, divide and ziploc.
In some ways this hike will resemble the summer backpacks of my childhood. In most ways it will be very different. This time around, I hope to be more of the guide, to share a bit of what I’ve learned since then.
Remember that time that you hiked to meet me at the Northern Terminus? This is my thank you for that, and my thank you for engraining in me a love for the wild.
Let the fun begin!