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Re: [John Muir Trail] After Action Report: One Blizzard of a Snow Course #3

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  • Roleigh Martin
    great post, full of wisdom. I remember last July 25, 2010, when that super fierce hailstorm descended upon us, we set up camp promptly instead of continuing
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 21, 2011
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      great post, full of wisdom.  I remember last July 25, 2010, when that super fierce hailstorm descended upon us, we set up camp promptly instead of continuing on to day's end goal. We were sure glad we made camp early.  Safety comes before day's end goal.

      On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 3:24 PM, <ned@...> wrote:

      What is always interesting after such "fun" classes like this one, held during one of the biggest snow storms of this season, is that everyone comes away with the following,
      - they are personally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually challenged,
      - they realize by emersion that they really didn't know nor understand the depth of what it takes to do what they plan to do,
      - that their plans for their next trip(s) need to be revised based on what they just learned,
      - that the doing is far more rewarding than the studying,
      - that even the very basics of wilderness travel and life is something not to be taken lightly, especially when conditions turn worse,
      - that the safety and fun of a trip is not completely based on what you bring with you, but what your prior experiences have taught you, the lessons you've learned, thus, trials like this one become empowering and build confidence,
      - all their plans are worthless without practice.
      One of the most priceless lessons this time around was realizing when to stop trying to reach a desired destination, that energy, daylight, and warmth were running out as the storm continued to rage around us, and it was time to make camp right there and then. Guarding your personal safety through wise actions became the priority.
      In this light, applied to the thru hiker's lifestyle, the lesson becomes, Know what you're up against and plan realistically. In other words, find out ahead of time what it truly takes to accomplish the task you'll have to do on the trail in the conditions expected and don't base your plans on how it went for others, what "worked" for them, and so forth. Find out for yourself how hard or easy it actually is to hike over snow and post-hole through it, how much you really will need to eat in order to have enough energy to go the miles you desire to reach the next resupply, and then, modify your plans and expectations so that you do more than survive the ordeal, the day's slog, the week's distance, you enjoy it, balancing rest and work, food and water, exposure and shelter, challenge, success, and victory.
      Right now, for all of you planning on hiking this winter, spring, or summer, get out there and put yourself in the conditions anticipated to test yourself, your gear, clothing, and food systems. Yes, camp in the rain, on the snow, in the wind as well as hike the long miles, then the short, and decide what "works" for you, what you want out of the experience, leisure, fun, challenge, long days and miles or the opposite, the six month goal or the six day goal. It is your responsibility to know what you're up against, both in you and against the environment if you want to have a good time out there. When you put yourself in the tough situations and practice there, you will really enjoy the easier and be ready with confidence, born out of the earlier trials and testings, for the rough when they come.

      "Just remember, Be Careful out there!"
      Ned Tibbits, Director
      Mountain Education
      1106A Ski Run Blvd
      South Lake Tahoe, Ca. 96150
          P: 888-996-8333
          F: 530-541-1456
          C: 530-721-1551

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