I chose to hike the John Muir Trail for a very simple reason…I wanted to backpack out on the west coast and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains…

Purple Lake ~ 9,930' Friday, July 8th, 2016 View from tent site

Purple Lake ~ 9,930′
Friday, July 8th, 2016
View from tent site

As I viewed pictures, websites, read blogs and Facebook posts…as I researched, read more and anticipated…and in my simplest gathering of thoughts could I then only begin to truly imagine how I envisioned this trail!  I began to get a sense of what the John Muir Trail may look like…I tried to see it through the eyes of others, though their writings, through their experiences and their perspectives.  I read quotes and writings from John Muir…what magnificent beauty and grandeur he so passionately wrote about and fought for.  I could only imagine through the eyes of others.

Silver Pass 10,740'

Silver Pass 10,740′

I myself needed to testify and witness…to breathe the dry dusty air…to smell the aromas of pine trees and sky pilot wildflowers…to touch and feel the rocks beneath my feet…to stop beside each little morsel of shade as the sun drenched heat of the day promised to conquer our steps…a trail that was going to challenge and test strength…health…endurance and spiritually…I wanted to experience the boldness and power of this trail.

Painted Lady Rae Lakes Kings Canyon National Park

Painted Lady
Rae Lakes
Kings Canyon National Park

New and unfamiliar words that lined the pages of the Guidebook in an attempt to educate me in the realm of geology…words like: metamorphic and metavolcanic rocks, granodiorite, columnar basalt and pluton formation which all thrown together created a landscape that gives the High Sierra its spectacular array of color, shape and beauty…jagged, sharp, round or smooth…I often questioned the how and why to God’s creation.

Devils Postpile Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 View from the JMT

Devils Postpile
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
View from the JMT

Amongst the rocky mountains, wildflowers lined the trail and sprung up in green lush meadows, flowed out of the tight crevices of rock and produced color in a dry thirsty region.  Clear bottomless lakes the color of turquoise…rocks in all shapes and sizes displaying their red, black, grey and pink colors.  Wildlife that darted throughout the landscape…and my favorite…the loud but beautiful Steller’s Jay…all of this brought an awe of peacefulness to heart and mind as I hiked southbound toward Mt Whitney.

Steller's Jay

Steller’s Jay

The High Sierra boast with soaring granite cliffs, peaks towering 13,000 & 14,000 feet…lakes, waterfalls and canyons…yet, with all of this spectacular beauty comes a price that many a hiker must endure if they are to experience this vast wilderness.  The unknowing and unforeseen hardships of a trail…

Sun setting on Evolution Lake & Basin

Sun setting on Evolution Lake & Basin

Many a hiker must turn back because they are unable to acclimate to the higher altitudes of the Sierra Nevada.  Tiger Lily and I daily were confronted with headaches, nauseated stomachs, dizziness and tiredness.  We climbed each mountain pass with a slow pace only to stop on occasion to catch our breath and rest.  The dry and dusty altitude and environment caused daily nose bleeds and a dry cough.  Deep blue skies with a sun that would cause us to wear long sleeved shirts throughout the day covering necks, hands and arms to keep the sun from burning our skin.  Sunscreen, bug spray, Dramamine, ibuprofen and tissue were kept within the side pockets of our packs for repeated use daily.  Bug nets to protect the face and neck…backpacks that weighed heavy on the back causing extreme shoulder pain and lower back bruising on Tiger Lily.  Packs, sleeping bag, stuff sacks held together with duck tape.  Gear that would not perform properly…

Muir Pass Looking for the trail...

Muir Pass
Looking for the trail…

Once we arrived at the Muir Trail Ranch and with 112 miles yet to hike…I chose to ship my ball cap back home thus causing my nose and lip to blister and bleed due to wind and sun exposure.  I shipped home any bug spray and bug net…many a night we would eat our dinner in the privacy of our tents leaving the mosquitoes out to fight amongst themselves…I shipped home my camera and extra battery charger knowing full well that possibly my phone would not last the duration of the hike.  Therefore I do not have any pictures of the last two days…Forester Pass and the summit of Mt Whitney!  I shipped back tissue and food and clothing…thus we both ran out of tissue and food for the last day…all in an attempt to keep my pack at a somewhat reasonable weight and to fit everything within.

Descending Glen Pass

Descending Glen Pass

Yet all of this…despite all of the trials of this trail we chose to have a grateful heart…we chose to be thankful…we talked about attitude, perseverance and endurance…how the woman who began back in Yosemite would not be the same woman that finishes on top of Mt Whitney.  How if you allow the trail to transform, shape and mold you…to give you a better understanding of self…you will push through the obstacles that cloud your mind.  You will begin to trust your judgement in making a decision for yourself.  You will burst through those difficult comfort zones.  Your sun drenched body will glow…your pack will appear lighter…your strength will improve…you will slowly acclimate to the thinner air…you will adjust to the many tears and holes in your gear cause by the bear…you may stumble and fall on slippery gravel covered rocks but you get up and hike on with barely a notice…your legs are now like the pillars of rock…you eat for the nutrition, energy and power as it faithfully sustains you.  You learn that you can not fight the trail but that you will eventually become a part of it.  You recognize once again that the God of our universe created all of this beauty…so that someday…Tiger Lily and Princess Doah would hike these mountains and would lift up our faces to the heavens to breathe in the life that He lay before us with much thankfulness, gratitude and devotion to Him…and our journey was rewarded…the adventure was amazing and the passion was a fiery yearning for the mountains, for life and for God.

Princess Doah & Tiger Lily John Muir Trail June 29th ~ July 19th, 2016 Mather Pass

Princess Doah & Tiger Lily
John Muir Trail
June 29th ~ July 19th, 2016
Mather Pass

A prayer of Grace, Mercy and Love to you…

Princess Doah

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having received a Dehydrator for Christmas this past year…Tiger Lily and I had it humming and drying all of our favorite fruits, vegetables, dinners and more…it was worth every bit of the time and effort we put into preparing our own home cooked meals for the trail! Yum!

One full portion per tray

One full portion per tray

Throughout the week at home I choose to eat a Dairy Free…Gluten Free…Grass Fed & Raw Organic diet…and for most of the time I eat Vegetarian. This hike was no exception to change any of my eating habits but with the daily consumption of additional proteins…Meat! For those who know me well enough, you know I may eat red meat (beef) at least once or twice a year. Pork/Bacon are a definite “No” in my diet but I do enjoy chicken, salmon and fish occasionally. Proteins are necessary to build and repair tissue. They are an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Proteins were eaten all day long to help us sustain the journey.

Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrated Vegetables

JMT ~ Proteins ~ Diet

Salmon ~ Grass Fed Beef Jerky ~ Turkey Jerky ~ Nuts ~ Almond/Peanut Butter ~ Dehydrated White Chicken (added to dinners) ~ Beans ~ Quinoa ~ Oats ~ Wild Rice ~ Hummus ~ Dark Leafy Greens…all of this plus Protein Powders and Amino Acids in capsule form.

Our appetites waned those first several days but we always kept on track by eating a healthy robust dinner in large portions. If salmon or tuna were not eaten at lunch these meats were added to our dinner meals. We both noticed that anything sweet (chocolates, fruit bars, etc.) were less desired than the saltier foods…crackers, salted cashews, hummus, dried jerky. Our bodies were beginning to crave for more salts! Sodium is responsible for controlling the total amount of water in the body. It is also for regulating blood volume and for maintaining muscle and nerve function. Too little sodium is called hyponatremia and is the most common electrolyte disorder. Caused by severe diarrhea or vomiting the symptoms include headache, confusion, fatigue and muscle spasms. Tiger Lily sipped on additional electrolytes (Nuun Active Hydration Tablets) throughout the day mixed in her water while I chose to chug (Orgain Organic Hydration in Coconut or Berry) mine at lunch. Of course all of the electrolytes are important…Chloride, Potassium, Magnesium, etc. but Sodium was our main concern.

JMT ~ Sodium/Electrolytes ~ Diet

Electrolyte Powder or Tablet Form ~ Dried Jerky ~ Hummus ~ Pretzels ~ Crackers ~ Lightly Salted Nuts

On Monday, July 11th we hiked a 13.9 mile day. From Rose Marie Meadow to Selden Pass and beyond the lakes were beautiful and the landscape displayed an array of different types of rock! Our packs were light, the day was sunny, clear and very pretty and it was time to pick up our next resupply at the Muir Trail Ranch.

Marie Lake 10,551' One Hundred Miles Hiked Climbing Selden Pass

Marie Lake 10,551′
One Hundred Miles Hiked
Climbing Selden Pass

The Muir Trail Ranch is a 0.9 mile hike off of the JMT. Straight down which means a straight back up with an overly full load! We had mailed to ourselves a large 5 gallon bucket of toiletries and food items to get us through the remainder of the now 112 mile duration of the hike. We both had packed plenty of food for ourselves for the 9 days along with new batteries, toothpaste, toilet tissue, amino acid tablets, bandaids and more. We had 9 dinners, 9 days worth of snacks and lunch and 9 breakfast. We also shipped a special treat to consume upon opening…mine was a Chocolate Protein Shake along with a Chicken & Rice Soup and Crackers…Tiger Lily had near the same. BUT…the 2.9 pound 500 Bear Vault that each of us carried was in no way going to hold all of this new food! Every hiker ships too much food to themselves to pick up at the MTR (Muir Trail Ranch) and either ships it back home or places it in buckets set aside for other hikers to pick through and take. We opted to ship a box home…and in my hurried up gotta get this repacked before they close at 5:00pm…I shipped home a dinner…2 breakfast…several protein bars…crackers, cookies, camera, ball cap, used maps and guidebook pages, toiletries and much more. It just was not going to fit in my pack! I crammed everything back into my pack and hung my JetBoil stove outside the pack to carry. Ready…we left the Ranch at 5:20pm…they closed the gate and fastened it behind us. Two other hikers were approaching as we left and were turned away till tomorrow! Glad we made it!

Muir Trail Ranch Resupply

Muir Trail Ranch
Resupply

We had met a woman from Cincinnati while making our way to Mather Pass…she had decided not to hike to Whitney and was going to get off the trail two days early…which means she had too much food. She offered Tiger Lily and myself each a packet of Salmon, jerky with nuts and a Snickers chocolate bar…we knew that eventually we would both need this extra food provision and accepted graciously. God’s timing and her thoughtfulness were perfect! We parted never to see her again.

Patty & Tiger Lily Mather Pass

Patty & Tiger Lily
Mather Pass

Mt Whitney was within days…food is getting low and I am portioning it out per day wisely. I prayed for more food to help provide the necessary nutrients needed. Within that morning a man approached us and ask our plans for summiting Whitney. He suggested that we tent at Guitar Lake and summit the next day. We explained our food situation…he offered to catch some fish for us and cook it up! By the time we reached Guitar Lake he was set up and excited to offer me some mashed potato flakes…I accepted. Just at the same time another couple (whom we had seen off and on for several days now) were passing us and got in on the conversation. They offered me two Granola bars and a huge bag of chili with noodles. Tiger Lily and I now knew how to plan the remainder of our hike…extra food had been provided…and it was “Just Enough”!

Mather Pass

Mather Pass

God promises to provide us with our daily needs…thank you Father

Princess Doah

Tuolumne Meadows

That Ole Half Dome Bear must have been mighty disappointed for she left without a nibble or a morsel to savor…and after two hours of clean up, taping and repairing our gear we were finally on trail that day at 3:00pm.  Sunrise Creek was our tenting destination for that night.  We didn’t make the mileage we had anticipated for that day but we did find a nice tent site near the creek.  With 12 miles yet to hike before reaching the other side of the Valley, I looked forward to viewing the Cathedral Peaks the next day.  The Cathedral Peaks were formed by glacial activity and are a part of the Cathedral Range which is a offshoot of the Sierra Nevada with an elevation of 10,916′.

Cathedral Peaks

Cathedral Peaks

John Muir called the Lembert Dome (pictured above) affectionately as “Glacier Rock”…she rises 800′ above the Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne River.   Although the John Muir Trail does not ascend this granite dome rock formation, it is many a rock climbers challenge to scale her face and for the first time near this junction now in Tuolumne…the JMT south bounders are in unison with the north bound Pacific Crest Trail hikers who are headed toward the Canadian border.

Cathedral Peaks from Tuolumne Meadows

Cathedral Peaks from
Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows is a popular resupply point for both trails.  Equipped with a small supply store, post office, restrooms, hamburger Grille and a backpackers campground, this is a haven for many a weary hiker.  We purchased more duck tape, super glue, Dramamine, fresh fruits and vegetables and picked up our resupply boxes at the PO.  It was Saturday and they close at 4:00pm…we got there at 4:20…I knocked on the window and they had no problem retrieving our boxes for us.  They even told me to come back in an  hour if I wanted to ship a box out…they were super helpful and generous to the hikers!  Being a holiday weekend they knew many a hiker was in need so they graciously accommodated!  Although I just picked up a box of food…I shipped out a box of food back home.  Mainly snacks and protein bars…I have not had a good appetite to speak of.  The two electric strips in the store are full of the many hiker phones and cameras as others wait patiently their turn to plug in and recharge before moving on.  Without a laundry room or a shower house…Tiger Lily and I proceeded to wash everything from head to toe along with our dusty clothes with tea tree oil and a bandana in the campground sinks.

Lyell Canyon

Lyell Canyon

The second stage of this hike is to pick up our next permit which will take us from Lyell Canyon to Mt Whitney.  We had received this permit months in advance by lottery and now the required time and day had arrived for us to obtain it.  Each person that receives a permit of any kind will need to listen to the “Ranger Talk”…where they discuss Leave No Trace principles, campsite closures, National Park rules and regulations and they make sure each person is carrying a bear vault.

Lyell Canyon Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 Tent site

Lyell Canyon
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
Tent site

Having to take a day off to receive our permit, we were anxious to return to the trail…Lyell Canyon and Donahue Pass…

Approaching Donahue Pass

Approaching Donahue Pass

Upon reaching Donahue Pass…you exit Yosemite National Park and enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness.  Donahue has an elevation of 11,066′ and is the 6th highest pass of the 10 total passes that the John Muir Trail will traverse.  In our resupply boxes from TM…we had shipped to ourselves gaiters and Yaktrax to wear up and over the snowy passes…the gaiters nor the Yaktrax were needed and we gladly shipped it all back home from the next town we visited…Mammoth Lakes.

Looking NOBO Donahue Pass

Looking NOBO
Donahue Pass

The definition of a “Mountain Pass”…(also called a gap, saddle, or col) is a passage over a mountain range…they typically occur in valleys between mountain ridges, in low points along mountain watersheds or just the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks.

Southside of Donahue Pass

Southside of Donahue Pass

Once we have entered the Inyo National Forest & Ansel Adams Wilderness…we hike up and over our second pass…Island Pass…Tiger Lily eagerly awaits the viewing of the Thousand Island Lake with the majestic Banner Peak in the background soon after.

Thousand Island Lake Banner Peak

Thousand Island Lake
Banner Peak

Ansel Adams was an American photographer.  His black & white photographs of the American West and Yosemite National Park are widely popular…Tiger Lily herself is an accomplished photographer amongst family and friends.  Her beautiful works of art and photos are proudly displayed in all of our homes.  Ansel Adams black & white photograph of Banner Peak & Thousand Island Lake is stunning and Tiger Lily wanted to capture as many pictures herself of this majestic mountain and lake that Adams has made so popular.

Lyell Canyon Sunday, July 3rd Tiger Lily watercolor painting

Lyell Canyon
Sunday, July 3rd
Tiger Lily watercolor painting

Ansel Adams 1902 - 1984

Ansel Adams
1902 – 1984

Wildflowers…Majestic Mountains…Turquoise Lakes…Songbirds…Snow & Amazing Rock Formations…all in a day!

Until we meet again…

Princess Doah

 

Greetings,

We were excited to begin our hike on the John Muir Trail!  Stepping into the unknown…treasures to behold and mountains to explore.  Snow covered passes, waterfalls, cascading rivers and steep, rocky mountains to climb!  Warm days and cold nights…dry, dusty air with a touch of dizziness, headache, nauseated stomach…huffing and puffing down the trail!  Take some Ibuprofen…ginger…Diamox…and drink lots of water!  Still we felt the effects of hiking in higher altitudes…but nothing was going to stop us!

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Nevada Falls

We hiked to the Little Yosemite Campground which is only 4.9 miles down trail.  We saw our first momma bear and her cubs along with an occasional mule deer.  Passing us up would be several mule teams over the first few days.  One rider up front followed by 6 mules carrying their loads of supplies for the wilderness campgrounds.

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Mule Team

We settled in to our campsite and later took a trip back to the Merced River to filter water and to bathe in its frigid cold waters.  Later that evening the Park Ranger was making his rounds and checking permits.  We had questions which he was very helpful to supply an answer.  Our plan was to hike up the Half Dome tomorrow and we were going to leave our gear in the bear boxes and retrieve them later.  The Ranger suggested that we just carry all of our gear and stash them at the base of Half Dome.  This would save us an additional 3 miles of hiking.  Sounded doable but what about animals getting into our gear I asked?  He told us to separate all of the smelly toiletries along with the food and place it in our bear vaults.  Hide the bear vaults in one area and the packs in another…”No problem” he said.  It would be a Food Violation if we chose to do it differently.  “No Problem”…

The trail toward Half Dome

The trail toward Half Dome

We were on trail at 5:20am making our way to the turn off trail for the Half Dome only 1.5 miles away.  We decided to carry our packs and do as the Ranger suggested.  We hid our packs amongst some downed logs, took pictures to help locate them later and placed our bear vaults in another area.  We know to put EVERYTHING that has any smell to it in the vaults!  And we did!

Climbing Half Dome

Climbing
Half Dome

Half Dome is a popular granite rock to climb.  She stands at 8,842 feet and bears the name Half Dome because of her domed shape.  You reach what is called the Sub-Dome by climbing up rock stairs…a very steep climb for many.  The final 400′ ascent is steeply up the rock between two steel cables used as handholds.  Once on top you have a fairly flat surface to explore and take pictures .  You can look down into the valley below or see for miles around.  You must have good sticky, rubber type gloves to ascend and descend.  They are a necessity!   We ate a snack and walked on top for over an hour and a half…then time to go down!  We decided to go down face first.  Several were now coming up the cables and we descended down with ease.

On the Sub-Dome looking up toward the top of Half Dome

On the Sub-Dome looking up toward the top of Half Dome

Descending Half Dome

Descending
Half Dome

From the top of the Dome it is 2 miles back to her base…where we had hid our gear.  Tiger Lily had approached the packs first and said “It was not good”…the packs had been ripped open and all of our gear laid out in the open!  Teeth marks on our Jet Boils…my water filter…teeth marks on my ball cap and on my tent…the sleeping bag that Tiger Lily was using had down feathers all over the ground…nearly every stuff sack had been ripped open…our brand new Thermarest NeoAir sleeping pads had holes…(Tiger Lily had to purchase a new one…and I get up several times during the night to blow mine back up…even after they have been patched and duck-taped) Teeth bite holes in some of our clothing…and our packs…well they are being held together with duck tape…

"No Problem"...

“No Problem”…

We were very thankful that our down jackets, rain jackets and my sleeping bag had not been touched.  We were told later that when a bear is successful at receiving food…that behavior is repeated time and time again.  It wasn’t that we had anything in our packs to lure the bear to it…it is that the bear at one time had successfully done the same thing and did find food.  One example given is that there is a female bear in the area that will roll the bear vault to the edge of a cliff, kick it over and go retrieve the food from the cracked open vault.

Tiger Lily and I will press on…this is just a part of the adventure that may happen while out in the backcountry.  We were not deterred by it!  I always remember what a friend back home, a 2014 AT thru-hiker, “Rowdy” says…”No Adversity…No Adventure”…tis true!

Love to all…

The Double “D” Sisters…as in dehydrated and delirious…or that could be duck-tape and delirious!

When we get home we are going to have a “Gently Used Gear Sale”…just place your fingers over the bear teeth holes on my filter and she still works like a charm!  Our packs will have traveled the John Muir Trail covered in silver and you will only have to blow up my air mattress a few times during the night to stay a float!  lol lol lol

The thin air is getting to me!

Princess Doah

 

 

 

 

Beginnings…

Greetings Reader,

Flying into Oakland, California on Monday, June 27th we knew we were in for an adventure!  A bus ride followed by the Amtrak train followed by a car ride from Uber into Yosemite National Park…we knew we were taking our chances by executing our plan.  You see, when we were applying for our permits at the beginning of the year to hike the JMT we were unable to get a permit from Happy Isle to Mt Whitney…but…we did get our permits from Lyell Canyon (across the Yosemite Valley) to Whitney.  We needed to mop up the first 27 miles which we did not have a permit for.

Half Dome ~ Yosemite Valley

We had reserved a campsite for the first two days and on those days we hiked on the many local trails trying to become acclimated to the altitude.  The Mist Trail is a popular trail that will take you up to Vernal Fall…a mere 1,000 foot climb!   At 317 feet this beautiful waterfall pours over the rocky ledges into the Merced River.

Vernal Falls...The Mist Trail ~ Yosemite Valley

Vernal Falls ~ Mist Trail

It was a long first day in the Valley.  We got up at 4:00am so that we could hike down to the Wilderness Station to be first in line so that we could get our permits from Happy Isle to Lyell Canyon…plus we wanted permits to climb Half Dome.  Dragging out our Thermarest pads with our sleeping bags we hiked in the dark…but, we were the first in line!  So we decided to get more sleep and laid down on the ground only to be hastily awaken by a Park Ranger at 7:30am and with a very firm and loud voice…”No sleeping allowed”…that woke us up!  At 8:00am they took our names and told us to return at 10:45am to apply for the permits.  Since we were first in line we got our permits first…Happy Isle to Lyell Canyon along with Half Dome!  YeeHaw!  We were now ready to begin our hike of the John Muir Trail!

Merced River Yosemite Valley

Merced River
Yosemite Valley

Trying to breathe,

Princess Doah

 

 

The Year…1976

It was the year of 1976 when I flew out to San Francisco to explore the west coast and find a life for myself…a life that would take me venturing out amongst the high cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, or crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, taking a bus to the Mission district and shopping in all of the glorious thrift shops or sometimes traveling with a girlfriend named Mae.  I met Mae along with her boyfriend and on occasion she and I would take off in her little raggedy car and drive up the coast towards Oregon. Stopping in quaint little towns…walking the beaches.   At night we would sleep out under the stars and would return back to the city…beautiful San Francisco…to jobs, boyfriends and to establishing a home for myself.

I lived in what is known as the Haight Ashbury district.  An area of town that had a hopping night life, flower children with flowers in their hair, barefoot hippies and music venues with well known artists…peace & love.  The height of it all was now long gone…it was much quieter now in 1976.

Yosemite National Park is not far from the city of San Francisco just laying to the southeast.  It was after all where the Redwood trees grew and that was something I wanted to behold…but alas…little did I know about altitude sickness!  Taking in all of the magnificent sights of Yosemite during the day, when darkness fell within the park it was time to figure out where we would sleep for the night…so we pulled over on the road and slept in the car!  I remember not sleeping much…I sickly stumbled out of the car…all night long!  I now know it was due to the higher altitudes that I was not acclimated to.  Now…40 years later, I will once again venture to San Francisco…this time I will travel by train to Yosemite National Park to explore this vast wilderness…by foot.

My sister, Tiger Lily and myself will hike the 220 mile John Muir Trail which begins within Yosemite at what is known as Happy Isles.  We are fully equipped for this…meaning our packs are way too heavy!  Gear I am not used to carrying on a backpacking trip…micro spikes, bug nets and a 2.9 pound bear vault to carry all of our foods and sweet smelling toiletries in an attempt to keeping the bears from stealing our grub!

I will try to write on this blog often and try to keep you on the edge of your seats while we climb Half Dome, ford Bear Creek, cross snowy and icy mountain passes and ferry over to the Vermillion Valley Resort.  Stop by and read up on our adventure!

Oh yea…eating the spice of Ginger, keeping hydrated, day hiking a few days to allow ourselves to become acclimated and taking meds…anything and everything to calm down the altitude sickness.  That monster is not welcome on this trip!

Anticipating a wonderful adventure with Tiger Lily,

Princess Doah

 

Echoes

A Time to Keep is about embracing & cherishing the moments of our lives…keeping alive within our hearts those memories of faith, hope & love…it may be a time of reflection of a glance back to a time of tea parties, horseback riding, gardening, preparing a home-cooked meal or for me during these later stages of my life…a time to reflect on the adventures & challenges that I endure while hiking on the trails.

Mount Katahdin…”The Greatest Mountain”…she stands tall, beckoning many a hiker to dare climb her summit.  Her cry can be heard as she moans your name as it echoes through the lush, green valleys, up a jagged, sharp mountain only to plunge you into a muddy, boggy marsh.  She calls your name through fourteen of our eastern coast states all the while as she tempts you and dares you to hike the over two thousand miles on a journey of our beloved Appalachian Trail.   Over the course of five years as I sectioned hiked the spine of this chain of mountains, I would hear her faint voice…her faint voice calling me to persevere and endure the hardships and challenges that lie before me.  I at times would struggle and cry as I pushed to reach her…laughing while frustrated at my lack of strength, Mount Katadhin finally came within reach on September 2nd, 2012.

I began what I thought would be my final journey at 6:30 in the morning as I signed in at the register within Baxter State Park.  My pack was light as I hiked though her woods climbing nearer to her spine and up onto her flat plateau.  She boasts of a sign on her summit that reads of her great accomplishments for she is KATAHDIN.   She stands at an elevation of 5267ft and proudly announces that she is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail…a mountain footpath extending over 2000 miles to Springer Mtn. Georgia.  I was tired and weary of my hike.  I had traveled nearly nine hundred miles on this particular section to reach her…the last few days were hard to imagine that I was finally here!  Yet there was sadness within as I walked these last miles.  A sadness of a door closing, a completed journey, a final climb.  I wept as I embraced her beauty, her glory and her honor that many have bestowed upon her.  I wept realizing that I would turn around and climb down her only to make my way back to Ohio where life would seem abnormal for a season as I allowed myself to become accustomed again to the rigors of life back home.

“Captain Blue” had reminded me that this was not the end…but the beginning of something far greater and new!   I returned home only to find myself yearning to be back out on the trails and once again I planned and prepared myself to hike yet another…the southern portion of the Eastern Continental Trail.  From December to April I would hike just over two thousand miles from Key West to none other but the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.  I have now hiked the trails from the waters of Key West, Florida all the way to the rugged mountains of Maine.  What a challenging adventure it has been…this is my Time to Keep.  Memories of a hiker…

With much faith, hope & love,

Princess Doah

 

Pink Lemonade

 Reflections

Remembering ~ Embracing ~ Captivating

Moments of Your Life

A table draped with fine pink linens trimmed with white lace ~ pink depression glass holds mouthwatering, delightful fruits while a vase of hydrangeas has been set amidst gold edged plates…tiny delicate seashells gathered from Sanibel Island encircle tightly around table napkins ~ the silverware reflects the days activities

Scones ~ Raspberry Jams ~ Quiche ~ Lemonades ~ Cucumber Sandwiches ~ Asparagus ~ Buttermilk Biscuits ~ Ginger Snaps…only a few of that which has been prepared for this celebration

Young men and old gather for a game of badminton amongst the children playing ~ running ~ giggling ~ laughing…Women came dressed in clothing representing that which may have been worn during the late 20’s and 30’s when dresses flowed near to the ground of whites and ivory possibly adorned with flowers and cameos…straw or felt hats dripping with ribbons, lace and flowers were worn by all ladies in attendance

Friends and family from near and far gathered together this day to celebrate the 80th birthday of my dear mother…upon her head she wore a straw hat ~ her blouse danced with brightly colored flowers…this was her day…a day to remember ~ embrace ~ captivate her inner beauty, her graceful charm & her life

I write this blog to capture the moments of my life through hiking ~ backpacking  ~ exploring ~ loving life

I hope that you as the reader enjoy reading my blog

Princess Doah

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