Later this month, I’m backpacking the John Muir Trail

Pam LeBlanc is heading to California, where she'll backpack the John Muir Trail. The very last part of the trail overlaps the High Sierra Trail, where she took this photo Looking down on Guitar Lake while climbing toward Mount Whitney in 2013. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc is heading to California, where she’ll backpack the John Muir Trail. The very last part of the trail overlaps the High Sierra Trail, where she took this photo Looking down on Guitar Lake while climbing toward Mount Whitney in 2013. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Permits, check. Dehydrated meals, check. Tent, camp stove and sleeping bag, check.

Chris LeBlanc mailed this bucket full of supplies to a resupply point along the trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Chris LeBlanc mailed this bucket full of supplies to a resupply point along the trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

I’m about to disappear.

Later this month, my husband and I will head to California, where we’ll begin a 16-day backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. The 200-plus mile route begins at Yosemite National Park and finishes at Mount Whitney. In between stand 11 mountain passes, countless streams and a population of black bears.

I love backpacking, and we’ve been dreaming about this adventure for several years. Permits are tough to come by; so is enough time off to do the trip right. Now we’ve got both, and the long-awaited trip begins.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings,” John Muir wrote. “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

I can’t wait to get out there.

We’ll hike between 12 and 15 miles each day, taking time to soak up the beauty along the way.

Pam LeBlanc will wear these Dirty Girl Gaiters while she is backpacking. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc will wear these Dirty Girl Gaiters while she is backpacking. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Last weekend, Chris mailed two plastic buckets full of food, camera batteries, fresh underwear and other miscellaneous items to our resupply point at Muir Trail Ranch. We’ll pick those buckets up after we’ve been on the trail about a week.

We travel light. We’ll wear exactly the same shorts and shirts the entire trip. (No decisions!) We’ll eat freeze-dried meals and an assortment of snack foods like dried fruit, beef jerky, trail mix, energy bars and nuts.

Right now, I’m in eat-as-much-food-as-possible mode. It’s nearly impossible to carry and consume enough calories on a trip like this, and I’m trying to get ahead of the game.

Yesterday, I tried out my new gaiters, stretchy cuffs of fabric that attach to my hiking boots to keep out dirt, burrs and pebbles.

This weekend, I’ll stuff, unload and restuff my backpack to get things just right.
And before I know it, I’ll be lacing up my trail shoes, swinging on my pack, and striking out on what I’m pretty sure will rank as one of my life’s biggest adventures.

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