I’ve been off trail for over a year now which is decision that I regret. I kinda lost sight of why I sought that first big adventure and felt some pressure to kinda normalize and level my life out a bit, because everyone’s doing it right? Unfortunately after three years (heck, even just the one year) of being out in the wilderness or walking on the shoulder of coastal highways just had such a strong presence in my life that I can’t for the life of me remember what it was I did before all this.
Thus the mad grind to save money begins. It’s simultaneously a great and terrible part of these long hikes: the slow build-up, the months of exhaustion and burnout. I love it, and the harder I dive into it the sooner I can get out there. Sooner is better for my tentative plans, but as far as what I know I’m doing: In September I’ll be heading out to hike the Uinta Highline Trail cause it’s local and looks incredible. I’ll also likely be walking a stretch or entirety of the Wasatch Plateu, a line of rounded and smooth ‘hills’ standing in stark contrast with the Wasatch Mountains lining the bulk of civilization in Utah. After that I’m heading down to the southern border of Utah to start the Arizona Trail, because I need a good long walk in the desert again.
Why not the cross-Utah route I’ve been working on? Because I’m still working on it! I’m certainly at a stage where I could try it but I’m not confident that I’ve done enough work on it yet, particularly with some new reroutes I’ve done. My two big concerns at the moment are water and viability of passage either from a private property point of view, or terrain. I’ve made shorter routes before, but this is a big’un and I’d like to get it right. I’m also just really feeling the desert this year, and I told myself in 2018 to just do whatever I want instead of doing things I think I ‘should’ do in terms of trails.
Media and This Site
I think I’m done doing trail videos. When I got into it it was kinda this niche hobby thing where there wasn’t this expectation of a return on it in the way that there is now. People kinda just made videos to share an experience. With the advent of influencer culture those waters have been muddied quite a bit and I’m not really a fan of it. In a way I feel like it’s kind of destroying people’s creative identity as people start doing the same things with their content to follow trends. It’s not a hemisphere of the internet I want to be in anymore, and largely I’m feeling exhausted by every community I’m a part of being advertised from the inside-out as everyone chases the dream of making money off something they love doing (and really, who can blame them?). This is certainly present in written media too, but I find it’s easier to tune out and maintain personal identity throughout it all.
Beyond that, I feel like it allowed whatever small corner of creativity I have in myself to shrink even more. I used to love writing and I could spend hours doing it without even the expectation of a ‘return’ on it, I just did it cause I liked doing it. I wouldn’t even post it online. Now I can barely get a blog post out anymore, and I’m not very happy about that. Having to go back and describe an experience with words and some pictures sounds like a good challenge after having it ‘easy’ all these years.
The Months Ahead
I’ll likely be spending most of my spare time at work, so from here until then I don’t have plans on posting much. If I snap some fun hiking photos they’ll be found on my Instagram account (No link, too lazy. Maybe later) where I do my short-term-nonsense-thought-posts. As I’ll be hiking in the late season (and continue my search for a backpack I genuinely like) I need to buy a few new pieces of gear so I’ll likely throw a 2020 gear list together purely for a retrospective ‘did it work’ post after the hiking season, but I have no intention of getting into in-depth gear reviews unless something genuinely leaves an impression on me.
It’s such a relief to have a hike ahead of me again. Utah mountains and Arizona here I come!