Garnet Lake to Yosemite Mile 932
Jon probably got the closest taste of true thru-hiker life today - over 11 miles! The hiking was fun, the scenery was great, and we crossed a major pass (Donohue) and some pretty good fords. At the end of the day, Jon said he has a new appreciation for what we're doing but has no clue why we're doing it.
I thought a lot about the "why" question - weirdly enough, not many people asked it! I suppose in a place like the Bay Area, it doesn't come as a HUGE surprise when someone up and quits their job in favor of going and living and hiking in the backcountry for six months, but I imagine many people did silently wonder what the h I was doing throwing away a good job and comfortable life to essentially become a hobo. It's hard to explain, but I think for me, a lot of it was because it was hard. I wanted to put myself up for a real challenge, and I threw myself in before I could second guess myself enough to convince myself I'd never be able to do it. I wanted a goal to strive for, and I wanted an achievement to call my own. Obviously, also because it's beautiful and scenic and a wildly wild adventure. But also because I want to push myself to new limits, and redefine what I'm physically capable of. But then you get out here and that end goal becomes so remote and far away and not at all what it's all about - because it's more about the day to day; the work, the joys, the tears and struggles. And also about getting to that next milestone, whatever it may be: a town, a 100 mile mark, a 50 mile mark, a nice place to set up the tent at the end of the day - whatever it may be.
Knowing that I can survive (and even sometimes as of late, thrive) on my own out here is empowering, and that is a really awesome feeling! Maybe a feeling I've denied or been unable to feel in a while. The past few days have reminded me of just how far I've come. From hardly being able to even filter my own water to hiking completely comfortably on my own - setting up tents, knowing how, where, and why to dig a hole, to skipping over rocks in a river, to just about anything else...including climbing a 12,000 foot pass and not breathing heavy at the top. The changes and progress have been slow and perhaps often unnoticeable, but I think this crazy trip may have more why - more purpose - than I can even fathom.