11/20/2015 - Epilogue - Solo Memories by James Gibson

I miss the trail.  

There, I said it, something that for some reason I have been reluctant to admit since my return from the JMT.   The hangover lingers long after the physical aches and pains recede, the dirt of the trail is washed away, the equipment cleaned and stored.  

I have heard solo backpackers speak of "withdrawal" after returning from a trek, but I had never really experienced it until returning from this trip.

Read More

Return to Whitney Portal by James Gibson

September 12, 2015 - Whitney Portal

No, I did not make it this far, this time, that is what my mind was saying.

I returned to Whitney Portal yesterday for the first time in many years, but it was not from the direction I had planned, nor on the scheduled day, September 11th.  If things had gone as planned, which age and something masquerading as wisdom tells me is usually folly, I would have stumbled down the mountain to this place yesterday afternoon, tired, worn, incredibly dirty, but undoubtedly with a joy in my heart that I can barely fathom, having completed one of the great trails in America.  I would have completed something that has been a lifelong dream. 

But that did not happen.  

Read More

August 29, 2015 - My JMT Adventure is Over by James Gibson

My adventure on The John Muir trail has ended after nine days and 75 miles. The Rough Fire in Kings Canyon National Park would have made it impossible to continue much further due to smoke which made conditions highly hazardous on the middle portions of The John Muir Trail, but in the early morning hours Thursday I awoke...

Read More

Day 1 - A New Perspective by James Gibson

Today dawned early, 5:55 AM to be exact.  Even with all the preparations I still found myself scrambling and we did not leave for the trailhead until 9:35.  Once in the car, calm, watching the woods speed by through the window, I finally had a few minutes for reflection.

Read More

A Day in the Meadow by James Gibson

Even though I have been to Yosemite many times, yesterday was a day of new experiences, deep emotions and great joy.  I was reminded that no matter how many times I visit this magical place there is always something new to see, a vista seen from a fresh perspective, different lighting or a new vantage point.  It helps me to understand how John Muir, Ansel Adams and countless other less famous people could spend decades in this comparatively small piece of the world and feel continually inspired and refreshed. 

Read More

Forty Years Past by James Gibson

As I sit at High Creek In the shadow of San Gorgonio in the twilight of early evening I cannot help but think of backpacking adventures past. Dinner is finished, the gear is stowed, food has been hidden from night time bear visits, the sun has dropped behind the mountain and the air is taking on the chill that makes for such great sleeping in the high country wilderness.  The birds have mostly stopped singing and the only sound is a slight breeze in the trees and the gentle hiss and bubble of the water flowing in the creek a few short steps away.

Read More

John Muir Wisdom by James Gibson

Yes, I have become a disciple of John Muir, for this humble and driven man described simply and eloquently over one hundred years ago what many of us struggle to explain to others to this day, the "why" of what compels us to put on a pack and go to the mountains.

Read More

Lessons Learned - San Jacinto Trek by James Gibson

A piezo lighter for my pocket rocket stove that did not work, thank goodness I had matches as a backup.  Former scout leaders are always prepared.   A sleeping pad that is definitely misnamed, it did not lend itself to sleeping.  My thoughts while trying to find some rest on this invention are unprintable.  Sometimes just because something saves you a few ounces should be viewed as false economy.  How do you test that new water filter when there is no water to filter?  And that turkey energy bar?  The turkeys gave their lives in vain for that piece of protein.  Almost completely inedible, even when starving at 9,000 feet.  Good to know, it will not be with me next month. 

Read More

6/27/15 - Rosie and Me by James Gibson

When contemplating something like a thru hike of the JMT it is easy to think only of the beautiful sights you will see, one more amazing than the last.  Or to contemplate the people you may meet, secure in the knowledge you will share a common bond regardless of age or background.   All that romantic, idealistic stuff that makes you want to do it in the first place.

But the cold hard reality is this.  The JMT is long.  The JMT is tough.  

Read More