I apologize for always using sappy ambiguous headlines, I don’t know what to title my stuff half of the time (see: my recent Youtube video titles such as “Evocative Video Title” and “Some Mountains and Stuff”).
I’ve been thinking a lot about what life is going to be like without a long hike to embark on this year. I took an on-trail zero last year to think about it and pretty much ugly-cried at my tarn-side campsite all day while I stared at the granite Sierra mountaintops.
I won’t lie, in some aspects it was an easy decision because I was feeling really worn down. In others, long distance hiking became the definition of my life and gave me very desperately needed direction. Going out for long strolls is the core of my existence now, and without it I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. And that’s part of the problem, I think my life needs a little balance.
Anyways moving on from the sappy stuff: I’m very happy to be back in Utah, especially since I’m far enough away from the city that my blood pressure is at a healthy level. So I’m in a very ecologically diverse and interesting state as a long distance hiker, who’s previously mapped out a route going through Utah. Oh gosh I wonder what I’m going to do!
A couple years ago I was working on a route going through Utah’s mountain ranges because I feel like they’re unfairly neglected. The Utah desert is great, but they’re also getting overused thanks to all of it’s highly advertised national parks taking place down there, meanwhile the Utah Rockies be like: “‘scuse me y’all…. we exist”. I had a period of time where I wanted to do the Hayduke (and I still flop around on the idea of it cause I love the desert and I read the Monkey Wrench Gang on the PCT this year so I’m almost obligated do it at this point), but man I dunno anymore. Utah’s mountains deserve better treatment.
That being said: 98% of my work on the route was from home, and I don’t think sitting at your desk and drawing lines through the wilderness counts as ‘making a route’ more than it is a bored hiker who needs a hobby. Planning a route is just one step, actually going on location and working it out is where the real creation is in my opinion. So since I’ve found myself with free time and a hole in my life hiking used to fill, as well as a deep love for Utah’s mountain ranges (the amount of times I even bring up the Uintas in my blog/videos hints at a clear obsession), I’m committing.
I plan on spending as much time as possible out in the mountains this season to work on this, but of course I’ll need to maintain a job so it’ll be a weekend kind of thing. At the moment I don’t even have a car so that complicates things a bit. Fortunately I have time to save up for one before things can get kicked off, and I’m planning on starting from scratch and re-routing everything from square one now that I have a better idea of what I’m doing and I’m super excited to take this on, plus I have plans on improving it a bit to take advantage of every last awesome view along the way possible. I’ll be posting updates on it in the form of articles and videos as I go (make a spectacle out of all the things!).
Until then I still have my PCT content to work on (I’m editing something right now that I’m really excited about, but it won’t be out for a minute) and other things to type out for the website. In any case, this is the ‘next step’ I’ve been craving and it’s ultimately what brought me out to the Sierra High Route this last season. I finally looked at myself and why I don’t finish these long trails and it really boils down to the fact that they don’t scratch the itch for me, I like having options and room to make my own decisions rather than being 100% committed to one path. My first few steps off trail on the High Route scratched the itch and then some. I think after these last three years: this is where the real fun begins for me.