//John Muir Trail Trip Report

“It is not the critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done better.

The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena”, delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris (1910)

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(Bridge Crossing of Fish Creek; Tully Hole)

John Muir Trail, July 6th – 10th

 Beginning July 6th, I intended to hike the entirety of the John Muir Trail –

212 miles along the spine of John Muir’s “Ribbon of Light”, the Sierra

Nevada. It runs from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney in some of the nation’s most breathtakingly gorgeous, yet inimical and arrogant landscapes. I completed the trail southbound last year in two weeks. I intended to do the same this year in 8 days. After I summited Mt Whitney (13 July), I was to spend a few days (14&15 July) recovering at Guitar Lake in preparation to return northbound on a supported fast-pack along the JMT with 3 days as a preliminary goal (16, 17, &18).

Anyone who has completed or will complete the John Muir Trail is of heroic substance. The trail demands nothing less, whether you traverse the 212 miles in 3 days or

3 weeks.

This was my intent; here are the results:

Day 0: Transportation & Logistics:

The alarm has gone off several times already, blaringly loud, and I still lie unwilling to move beneath the duvet. I slide a finger blindly across the face of my iPhone, when the second alarm I set clicks on – an old-fashioned alarm clock with the bell and hammer system; quite possibly the most annoying way to wake up. With the hammering of the alarm still ringing in my ears, and through the fog of a newly awoken mind, I realize what day it is. I had been training for the past year with this day as my ultimate goal. Today was the day Natasha and I left for the John Muir Trail. Continue reading “//John Muir Trail Trip Report”

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//A Primer on The Trail Monologues

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The Trail Monologues is the brainchild of countless hours and hundreds of miles logged out on the trail. Like most in the ultra community, for me this time is spent alone, in solace, in the comfort of ones own mind.

I once commented to one of my friends, “Running is a lot of time spent in pain, perforated by brief moments of absolute beauty”. I still hold this comment as truth, but I’d like to expound upon it: running is a lot of time spent in pain, in silence – introspective; perforated by brief moments of absolute beauty, clarity, & enlightenment. Some of my most profound thoughts and deepest understandings have occurred on the trail. Trail running allows me to live in the present state of things; to dwell on things of primal and innate significance.

It’s through trail running that I am able to compose the facets of myself that are otherwise scattered and chaotic.

I’ve been contemplating the startup of an online running lifestyle and culture journal for some time now, hoping that the ease of use and convenience of other outlets of social media would somehow make up for all the words I needed to type up and publish– that somehow my pictures, quotes, and short status updates would fill in all the negative space; all the minutia of my life. To be fair, I wasn’t all that far off target: whatever products I enjoyed using, whatever trails inspired me, whatever races forced my grit to show, whatever quotes spoke to me, I posted. But there was something bigger, something missing from all of that. Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another”. Up until now, I’ve been generalizing my life, cutting short the details of my adventures, selling myself short. I was forgetting the details of how I lived…

Enter “The Trail Monologues”… On a routine [and rather dusty] descent during my usual single-track, it struck me. The name made perfect sense – after all, the reflections and insights I achieved during my runs were nothing more than having a conversation with myself! I almost lost my balance and ate dirt out of sheer excitement! I could do shoe reviews, talk about good trail foods & recipes, and even dabble in trailside philosophy and musings!

That was several months ago now, and – after much self-doubt and uncertainty – along with the help, advice, and broad-spectrum support of my good friend Landon Faulkner and my loving wife Natasha, I’m finally putting the ink to paper [so to speak], and I’m eager to do more than simply review goods and ramble on about the ideas that perpetuate my life. As I cultivate and develop this journal – cataloguing my voyages and adventures – I intend not only to augment the depth of my experience & reflections of and for myself, but also to provide valuable insight, inspiration, motivation, & encouragement, all the while providing in depth reviews, and recommendations of gear, trails, races, nutrition, and training for all of the readers who happen to stumble upon it.

If you have any post suggestions, review requests, site improvement recommendations, general inquiries, or just want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so on my contact page!

I’ll be posting a trip report from my John Muir Trail Fastpack and FKT attempt in a day or two, so stay tuned!

Cheers & Happy trails!

#runwiththemojo