I have never seen Into the Wild and I have never seen Wild – somehow I feel the need to make that absolutely clear, maybe because both movies caused a wave of new hikers on their self-finding paths, and especially the latter resulted in female hiker numbers rocketing through the sky. I’m not saying that mine is not a self-finding trip, at least up to some degree it certainly is, but I wasn’t suddenly inspired to do this because an actress looked pretty and went on this wholesome cleanse in nature (again: I haven’t seen the movie but it is Hollywood so that’s what I assume it’s gonna be like. My apologies if I’m wrong. Don‘t @me). I did read Hape Kerkeling’s Ich bin dann mal weg, a personal account of hiking the Way of St. James. (though the German Jakobsweg sounds better. More humble. More fitting to the dusty, sweaty struggle). However, that trail doesn’t appeal to me as much. Not because of its religious purpose, I’m all up for that. Or don’t care. But I am a mountain goat and love the Dolomites, probably even more than the Alps, and it’s high up there on 10,000ft elevation where I find my inner peace. Every year, my Mum (70 years of age and she can still do it, and I’m damn proud of her) and I go on a 2-day-hiking trip in the high mountains. It’s our mother-daughter-time and especially regarding our somewhat problematic relationship. We’re getting better and I must admit, 2020 has been a good year in terms of us. Physical distancing brought us closer together emotionally and I am so glad, I just shed a few tears writing that down – but even before, that annual excursion has always been a perfect combination of spending time together, both of us being in our – I believe it’s fair to say – natural habitat, and since hiking is more of a solo-activity anyway, it was often accompanied by a silence, the good kind of silence, where you share more by not talking and we weren’t force to speak about things we both felt uncomfortable speaking about. When we were little, my Mum would take us with her on all her mountain adventures. My brother often opted out (he did go running with her, back when I hated running, so each of us had their mum-sport so to speak) but my Mum and I both hiked and hiked and hiked and took in the scenery, deeply inhaled the fresh air, relished in the physical strains. On our latest tour up to the Chli Windgälle I was already thinking about a multi-day solo-hike somewhere and so I asked her about her most memorable hiking experience. She didn’t even have to think about it. Her immediate response was: The High Sierra. Yosemite Valley. Mount Whitney. The John-Muir-Trail. Conveniently, that had already been on my To-Do-List, and even more so since Free Solo (which I have seen and I urge you to go see it, and I promise, you’ll be in awe). And so, an idea was born, and a more concrete or rather rock-solid plan formed, and soon, preparations began.
This is a new section on the blog! For a big, big endeavour. And also a big, big maybe. Due to the current events aka Covid, it is absolutely uncertain if I will be even allowed to travel and do what I’ve been planning for months now. But hope is (second) last to die and what’s the point giving up on a dream now because it might not come true when the outcome is beyond your control? Every day, I allow myself a solid fifteen minutes to worry about it, same with all the other potential and real catastrophes going on. The rest of the time, I pretend it’s gonna happen because what else can I do? So as we stand, let’s pretend! Fake it till you make it has always been my motto.
In August 2020, I will hike the John-Muir-Trail.
213 miles, and an elevation change of 47,000 feet, approximately.
Three weeks. All by myself.
And here, I will keep you updated, write about my experiences, and let you virtually come along on my journey. Not in a live feed, because I’ll be off the grid, but there will be a lot about me preparing and to provide you some background information, followed by a post-trail shortened diary (short: PTSD. Oh, wait, that’s already taken.).
The mountains are calling and I must go. – John Muir
So keep looking here for one of the greatest solo adventures I’ve ever tackled!