As my first official post, I find it difficult to say who this blog is for. I was going to say that it’s for anyone who has ever climbed or hiked on a mountain, but that would exclude so many. It’s for everyone really, but I’d say that it’s for anyone who has ever been inspired or felt their soul stirred by the natural beauty of this planet, whether it be mountain, ocean, desert or other landscape.
Initially, I was going to call this blog, ‘The Mount Whitney Journals’. TMWJ is a book I’ve been writing for several years. It’s a narrative, in journal form, of my 6 attempts to climb Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. This blog will still be heavily geared to my Whitney journals and I’ll be posting excerpts of what I’ve written so far, in addition to new writings. So far, I’ve completed the first 3 chapters (books) and am in the process of writing about trips 4 & 5 (2007 & 2009).
In the end though, I decided to simply call this blog ‘The Mountain Journals’ because I felt it more inclusive. Over the past year and a half, most of my training for the Mt. Whitney attempts has been on local Bay Area trails, the trails around Lake Tahoe, and the trails of Yosemite National Park. These hikes have been a revelation. For many years, I trained by running and working out at the gym. This kept me in good shape. But as I’ve gotten older and my vertebrae have become less agreeable to the pounding of running, by necessity I’ve had to change my regimen.
Now I train rigorously by hiking on the trails of Mt. Tamalpais (Marin County), Rancho San Antonio (Los Altos Hills), Cull Canyon (Castro Valley). This has allowed me to experience the beauty at a more humane pace than trail running. At the slower pace hiking affords me, I’m able to see the abundant wildlife and flora. Just last week, as I walked with my friend Tami, at Rancho San Antonio, we were treated to a display of rabbits, deer, quail, and various other birds that made us feel as though we were in a Disney movie.
While my hikes have the obvious benefit of keeping me healthy and strong, I find they feed my emotional and mental health just as much, if not more. It also gives me much needed perspective on just how little I need to be content: Good hiking shoes, a backpack with water, food and a few band-aids, trekking poles and warm clothes.
So in essence, if what I write uplifts in any way and has the ability to make a few of you get outside and play in the hills and mountains, I will be one happy individual.