Opt Outside

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^^From our John Muir Trail backpacking trip this past summer.

We’ve never been big Black Friday shoppers around here, so when REI announced that they were closing all of their locations on Black Friday, and giving their employees a paid day off to be outdoors, we were thrilled! What an awesome idea.

Whether or not Black Friday shopping is your thing, think about joining us in spending some time outside with loved ones this year! What a great way to thank God for his creation, and for all he’s blessed us with. rei-optoutside

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jordan

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60 Miles Later

Hey all- I kept meaning to post pictures from our backpacking trip way back in July, and kept forgetting. But here it is, an extra-long backpacking post- finally!

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^from left to right: Robin, me, my mom, Laura and Lori

In case you didn’t hear, my mom and I, and three other women, went on a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail at the beginning of July. We covered about 60 miles in eight days.

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There was a ton of preparation for the trip- tents, clothes, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, boots and food. We must have packed and repacked our bear canisters at least half a dozen times each, just to make sure that all of our food would fit inside. We made many, many trips to the outdoor section of Wal-mart, REI and Sports Authority and we talked to veteran backpackers and got lots of advice. Luckily for us, we were able to borrow a ton of our gear from friends, which made a huge difference in cost.

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Final cuts in what we were taking were made the night before we hit the trail, in a friend’s little cabin in Bishop. We pulled out absolutely anything that was not completely necessary- every ounce counts. We also adjusted straps and made sure that everything was packed correctly, and then we had our final weigh-in. My backpack came in at 37.5 pounds and my mom’s weighed in at 43 pounds- a bit above what we were shooting for, but we had to make it work.

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When we finally set out, I was kind of nervous- I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I was tentative about the approaching challenges. We all got into a groove quickly though- setting up camp, cooking meals, purifying water, and attempting to clean up in a freezing cold stream (eek!) became second nature to us.

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There were definitely challenges. By the fourth morning, after an extra-long day the day before, I was done. It was the one time I cried on the trip, and the only real reason for it was that I was down-right tired. My body was sore from so much hiking and dealing with the altitude was getting to me. It was all up-hill from there though- somehow, your body begins to adjust to the constant movement and the heavy pack. There were many times when walking without a backpack on sounded like a dream, but that was all just part of the adventure.

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The beauty of the Sierra’s completely and totally made up for all of the physical and mental challenges. I’ve never been anywhere quieter or cleaner and I’ve never seen sky that blue or water that crystal clear. The beauty was indescribable- pictures don’t even come close to capturing it. God’s creation absolutely blew me away- if He put that much thought and detail and majesty in just the 60 miles I experienced, imagine how much more there is to explore!

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Another awesome part of backpacking is the people- only first names are given- on the trail, that’s all that’s necessary. Sometimes, we’d hear what a person did for a living, or what brought them to backpacking,  but 99% of the time, the topic of conversation was what we were doing at that very moment. Everyone had issues with their backpacks, everyone dealt with sore muscles and not getting enough sleep at night. But best of all, everyone was experiencing the same beauty and same accomplishments- those things bonded us.

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Before we left on the hike, Robin, who was the leader of our group, mentioned that she was itching to just get out on the trail again. I didn’t quite get it- what was the allure? I understand now, even if it’s still hard to describe. Since we’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about our trip. A lot. Despite how hard it was at some points, I can’t wait to go out again. There’s something about knowing that you’re carrying everything you need to survive on your back. And the accomplishment that came with knowing what I had just managed to do, instilled a huge amount of confidence in regards to my physical and mental capabilities. In the end, it was all completely worth it, and absolutely something I’d do again 🙂

 

Jordan