Hi, I’m Mama Bear.
I started this website in early 2018 as a way for me to document my journey to and on the Tahoe Rim Trail (or TRT), which I plan to tru-hike by myself in the summer of 2020.
About the trail:
Each summer, hundreds of people hike the TRT, which is a 165mile loop around Lake Tahoe in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some people only hike parts if it, others do the whole thing but do it in sections, sometimes taking years to complete it. Others do it as a thru-hike, meaning they do the whole thing in one go. Thru-hiking the TRT usually takes about 10 days to 2 weeks. I plan to take 3 weeks to thru-hike the whole thing.
As of right now, February 16, 2018, I am an overweight, out of shape, 39 year old mom of two who has arthritis in her knees. What in the world makes me want to spend three weeks hiking around Lake Tahoe with a heavy pack on my back?
Well, I’ve been hiking and camping my whole life, but put on a backpacking pack for the first time at age 14. I was hooked. I backpacked several times each summer all through my teenage years. Usually the treks were fairly short in mileage (<20 miles) and focused on climbing 14,000ft peaks in the Sierras. Rarely did the trips last more than about 5-6 days. But I absolutely loved being out in the Backcountry, especially the high Sierras.
The Pacific Crest Trail was completed the year I started backpacking (1993) but I was barely aware of it’s existence, even though I lived just about 40 miles from it in. And the TRT didn’t even exist yet.
Fast forward a few years and I went off to college in Portland, OR, found a husband, and settled down to married life. We moved back to my hometown at the base of the Sierras, but jobs and eventually kids kept us out of the Backcountry far more than we would have liked. We car camped a lot (much more doable with babies), and did take a couple small backpacking trips when we just had one kid.
But as life tends to go, other things took our attention and family issues took us back up to Oregon. Which is where I was when the 2014 movie Wild came out in theaters. I was inspired.
And this crazy scheme of mine to solo hike the Tahoe Rim Trail was born. But because of life circumstances at the time, I knew it would have to be several years in the future. So I put it to the back of my mind and let it lay dormant. And then we moved back to my hometown once more and the dream blossomed once more.
I love the idea of thru-hiking, but I have no desire to leave my husband and kids for most of the year to hike any any of the “big three” (Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Continental Divide Trail).
Besides, the TRT is basically right out my back door.
So, why 2020 and not this coming summer (2018)? Or even give myself a year to prepare and go in 2019?
Well, there are several reasons. The first I mentioned earlier. I’m 39 years old, overweight, and outa shape. I need time to train. Big time!
But I could do that in a year. If I had a year to dedicate to training. But this year I’m building a house instead. Yeah, kindof a big deal. I can’t spend too much time out hiking and backpacking this year or our house will never get finished. And besides, we have a BUNCH of family obligations that will take up large chucks of the summer in 2019, so trying to squeeze in another 3-week activity is just putting too much on my plate.
So 2020 it is.
And why 3 weeks and not the traditional 2 or less? Again, 39 years old (41 by then), overweight, and outa shape. I want to be realistic. If you do the math, most people average about 12-17 miles a day. Averaging 8-10 miles a day is much more doable for me. Because we all know how averages work. In order to get an average of 10 miles, that means that there will probably be some days in there that are more like 12+ miles. Which doesn’t seem like much until you think that you gotta get up tomorrow and do it all over again. And again, and again. And ’cause I want an extra day or two for times when I just don’t wanna go anywhere. There is some gorgeous scenery along the way and I don’t want to be so focused on making my miles each day that I don’t have the luxury of staying put if I want.
Besides that, I want time to disconnect from regular life and to just be alone with…me. By choosing to go alone and cover fewer miles per day, I give myself flexibility to explore more, to enjoy the scenery more, to actually, maybe, finally get truly bored. And to see what comes out of myself when that happens. Who am I when I don’t have the distractions of this life to entertain me? I anticipate a lot of communing with God on that trip. And a stripping down to the real me. Something that is hard to do with the distractions of regular life.
So that’s my plans. The Tahoe Rim Trail in 2020. But I got a lot of work to do to be ready for that. It has literally been nearly 7 years since I last backpacked (sad, I know). All of my gear is old, heavy, and worn out. And I need to get in shape, obviously. So while I won’t have time to do much, if any backpacking this year (2018), I do plan on starting to update my gear, and going on day hikes as our house building allows. And 2019 will be a fun year filled with shorter backpacking trips designed as training hikes. My family will come with me on many of these adventures of the next two years, and I will bring you along as well, as I Journey to the Tahoe Rim Trail.