When I originally conceived of hiking the John Muir Trail in its entirety I knew it had to be about more than one individual taking a long trek, I wanted it to have an impact beyond my own personal experience.
To share the experience with others, and possibly encourage others my age that they can do something which some consider extreme was part of it. However, I don't think doing the JMT is as big a deal as some people are making it out to be, it just takes setting a goal, planning, training and discipline, which I believe many people could do if they wished. And as Monty Python said, "I'm not dead yet!" so why not do something like the John Muir Trail? (if you don't know who Monty Python is, well, that is what Google is for...)
But there had to be more.
I have done many camping and backpacking trips over the last forty years, in all kinds of conditions and all seasons, through dust, heat, mud, rain, snow and ice, hiking literally several thousand miles. For many years I was a Boy Scout Leader, teaching dozens of young men the basics of camping, backpacking, first aid and survival. While the scouts are a great organization, in my opinion they miss a large swath of American youth, those of lesser means who do not have the typical opportunities afforded to middle class youth, which always bothered me a bit.
I heard of WildLink (wildlinkprogram.org) on a visit to Yosemite earlier this year and after doing some research became convinced of the value of their mission. They reach young people who would not normally know what a National Park is, much less wilderness. I know from personal experience that the lessons that can be learned in the mountains are many, some practical, some spiritual, some intensely personal, but all of priceless value to the development of solid individuals. This is the mission of WildLink, and I am excited that I may in small way help them fulfill their goal. If you would like to support their mission, and my trek, please consider making a donation by sponsoring my trek at whatever level you are able.
© 2015 James McGregor Gibson