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Category Archives: Hiking

JMT: Part 1

jmt 1

The top of Donohue Pass where the Ansel Adams Wilderness meets Yosemite National Park.

This past summer my brother J, my dad, and I decided to hike a portion of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park. We had to restrict it to 60 miles due to the Ferguson Wildfire, my fathers diabetic crash, and my need to drive back to Oklahoma to report in for work. Now 2 weeks in the wilderness may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it. Highlights include:

  • Quality time with my dad and brother
  • Avoiding my political campaign for 2 weeks.
  • Learning how to effectively poop in the woods.
  • Finding out how incredibly kind strangers on the trail can be.
  • Unplugging and focusing on the moment at hand.
  • Seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes [Looking at you Garnet Lake].
  • Swimming in a freezing glacial lake.

Downsides:

  • Falling off a small waterfall, landing upside down with my arm pinned and getting waterboarded.
  • Running a few days behind and as a result running low on food towards the end.
  • Looking like Willie Nelson due to the braid situation.

My dad and I are discussing finishing the 100+ miles left of the JMT [from Agnew Meadows to Mt. Whitney and from Tuolumne Meadows to Happy Isles]. Our respective spouses think we are insane, but I’m pretty certain we can make it work. I just need Bride of Frankenfoot to heal up so I can get back out there.

I am so unbelievably grateful for my Actemra and other RA/RD medications. If you’d told me this was possible 5 years ago I would’ve thought you were taunting me. Don’t mistake this gratitude for inspiration porn [when everyone gets the warm fuzzies because ‘look at that sick/handicapped person go!]. I am simply grateful for the medical advances I have seen over the course of my illness and hopeful for what is yet to come.

So keep an eye out for me on the trail, see Y’all out there.

jmt 2

Me, my brother J, and our dad down near Agnew Meadows.

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Because I’m Crazy [Pre-PCT 1]

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I have decided to do something absolutely insane, allow me to explain. I have decided that I will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail [PCT] roughly a year from now. This trail goes from Mexico to Canada, is 2,650 miles long and takes 4-6 months to complete on average. This is about the time that people say “But what about your rheumatoid arthritis [or fibro, or sjogren’s, etc…]”. To which I say, “doesn’t that make it all the more impressive”. I have done my due diligence to ensure I take care of myself on the trail. I have spoken with my rheumatologist about how to get biologics on the trail. We decided switching from my Actemra IV to Actemra subq may be the way to go. She is fully supportive of this endeavor and is amazed with my turnaround. Considering 2 years ago I was so sick I wanted to die and practically crawled to Mayo Clinic, this is nothing short of amazing. I read about the PCT a few years ago and thought, “I wish I was healthy enough to do this”. Now I can, and I will.

“Why now?” is also a question I have been hearing a lot. Well, about that. My RA/RD is currently under control and I intend to take advantage of this. Additionally I will be graduating next May with an education degree. In Oklahoma. During a hiring freeze. So, due to the fact that only rural districts are hiring [which you always get stuck in] I will be taking off for 6 months and praying Oklahoma can figure out it’s current budget crisis. This is the only time in my life that I have limited responsibilities, I only have my husband to worry about.

Now they say you only need 12 ¬†weeks of training before leaving for the trail. Then I thought to myself 52 weeks of practice seems pretty good too. I have begun my doing 60-90 minutes of cardio 4-5 times a week and began resistance training to strengthen my core and back. I’m 4 weeks into this training and so far my body has held up with no, I repeat NO issues. My calves are so muscular I could probably just hop into a low flying helicopter*. My amazingly kind and understanding husband will be mailing me my oral medications as I continue down the trail. I have started making my own dehydrated meals, can make a fire out of anything, and learned how to layer like a pro. I will not be unprepared. I will continue to update as we get closer to my departure.

PCT (1)

Hart’s Pass, Washington

*Please do not attempt this.

 

 

 

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