Deciding to do it, First Panic Attack, and Beginning the Preparations.

So I never make New Years resolutions.  I like to try and avoid that feeling of failure when I never accomplish them.  But this year I decided that I wanted to try and hike the John Muir trail.  For those of you who don’t know, the John Muir trail is a 215 mile trail in California that starts in Yosemite and ends at Mt. Whitney.  I’m not going to lie, just writing that down seems very daunting for a beginning hiker such as myself.  Ever since I have decided to do this I have had moments of self doubt.  But then I ask myself ‘what else do I have going on right now?’  The answer is always ‘Nothing, Mags.  Get it together.’  So let’s continue.

I got the idea when my boyfriend, Brian, was telling me about a family friend of his who recently hiked the John Muir.  We looked at the pictures and it was pretty beautiful.  It also looked really hard and steep and long.  After looking through all her pictures, I decided to make a list of things that I would definitely need to bring.  Here was my list after the pictures:

  • camera
  • inhaler

Not a long list to be sure.

Then I started thinking about this seriously.  I could probably do this if I worked very hard at training with different hikes and short backpacking trips and other activities, along with my kettlebelling of course.  Luckily, one of the only redeeming qualities about Los Angeles is that there are a TON of hikes close by.  Canyon hikes, mountain hikes, desert hikes, celebrity sighting hikes, you name it and Los Angeles has it.  I started researching and there are a lot of great websites and blogs out there.  One of my favorites is Modern Hiker.  They provide a very thorough list of hikes to do in and around Los Angeles.  

Another very useful blog that I found was Semi-Rad.  This site is great for motivation.  They had a great entry just yesterday that was titled ‘Make Plans, Not Resolutions.’  Not only did they make some compelling arguments, but they started off the entry by quoting ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.’  Basically, they had me at hello.

So, because I read this post on, I came up with a rough itinerary for training and completing the hike.  Again, this is rough.  I will undoubtedly tweak it and permits will have to be purchased once we have the dates a little more set in stone.  It will also be difficult to keep to the schedule once my hiking partner starts his final semester of law school.  He will undoubtedly miss a few hikes here and there so that he can study for the Bar exam.  I suppose this is a legitimate reason.

Once I thought about all the time that I would need to prepare for and complete the hike, I started thinking about all the things that I would need to purchase for the hike.  Between me and Brian, we have one backpack, two sleeping bags, one tent, one water purifier, one bear box, and a whole lot of inexperience.  Not a long list and definitely not everything we need.  We came up with the below rough list of supplies and things that would be good to have on our hike.

  • Backpack
  • Sleep pads
  • Hiking Boots (Brian insists that this hike is doable in tennis shoes but last time I hiked up San Gorgonio I got a hole in mine…)
  • Food
  • Small camp stove (you know, those really cute little ones)
  • Trekking poles (my new favorite site,, convinced me that I need these ( ), and I don’t want to get Dave Huntoon knees in my early twenties…)

Then there are the things that would seem useful but that I am not sure we can afford:

  • Those really absorbent towels
  • GPS tracking thing (for my mom’s peace of mind)
  • Pack mule

I am undoubtedly missing a lot of things like bug spray, hat, pocket knife etc. but like I said, this is a very rough, beginning list that we came up with just spur of the moment.  We will make a more complete list after we do more research and start testing gear to get the most comfortable and efficient set-up.

At first, the list of things we need, along with the itinerary gave me a small panic attack.  This will be expensive and time consuming.  The hike itself will be time off work where I still have to pay rent.  I don’t make a whole lot of money right now and this trip is a money pit what with the buying of gear and time off of work.  I am not good at spending money, just ask my mom, so this was a very hard decision for me to make – to hike or not to hike?

My first instinct was not to hike.  I can’t afford it, I am not in the right kind of shape for it, I’ll get eaten by a bear, etc.  But then I looked back on what I accomplished last year.  Not much.  I’ve had one very terrible job (but don’t worry, I am at a much better one now).  I moved to Los Angeles but it’s no shocker that L.A. living is not really my style, I developed a new allergy, and started getting migraines.

Now that I’ve listed all the bad things I feel like I should say that 2012 wasn’t all bad.  I am living closer to Brian (which is awesome), I am sleeping better because of all the snuggles, and I moved out of my parents house.  I got to see my family a lot more than most people got to which was amazing but on the whole 2012 left me feeling unsatisfied.  So this year, regardless of whether I get my dream job, or get Millie (the dog that I don’t have but have already named), or strike it big in Hollywood, I will have hiked the John Muir trail.  And hopefully in the process I will get to see a lot of places around and in Los Angeles that I never have before.  Maybe they will even endear me to this city!

But you probably shouldn’t hold your breath…

So here it is.  My blog about my training and (hopeful) completion of the John Muir trail.  I will keep it updated with pictures of training activities and hikes and upon the (again, hopeful) completion of the John Muir, I will post pictures of the hike.  Part of the reason that I am doing this blog is to keep me motivated.  I need all of you who are reading this (my mom) to hold me accountable for the things that I have said that I am going to do.  

This is going to be a long process so here’s to uncertain beginnings!


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