Hi, I’m Maridy (aka 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 on 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, January 2020, I am an overweight, out of shape, 41 year old mom of two who has arthritis in her knees and hips. 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 (completed in 2001) didn’t even exist yet.
Fast forward a few years and I went off to college in the Pacific Northwest, 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 in 2016 we moved back to my hometown 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 did I wait till this year (2020) rather than go in say2017, 2018, or 2019?
Well, there are several reasons. 2017 was out of the question as we had some obligations. When I started really planning this adventure in 2018, I was 39 years old, overweight, and outa shape. I needed time to train. Big time! So the summer of 2018 was out of the picture.
But I could have gotten into shape in a year – if I had a year to dedicate to training. But we are building a house. Yeah, kindof a big deal. I couldn’t spend too much time out hiking and backpacking in the past couple of years or our house would never get finished. And besides, we had a BUNCH of family obligations in 2019 that took up large chucks of the summer, so trying to squeeze in another 3-week activity was just putting too much on my plate.
So 2020 it is. (And news flash, our house is still not finished! But I’ve already made the commitment, so I’m going!)
And why 3 weeks and not the traditional 2 or less? Again, I’m now 41 years old, still overweight, and still outta 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. I’ve only gone on one backpacking trip (and overnighter on the Appalachian Trail) in the last 7 years (sad, I know). I’ve spent the last couple years updating all my old, heavy, and worn out gear, but I need to test most of it out still before attempting a thru-hike. And I need to get in better shape, obviously. Back in 2018 I had great plans and goals for hiking a ton and going on lots of smaller adventures. But life got in the way. And honestly, I work best under a deadline, and 2020 was still a really long way away. Then, last year about this time I realized that a whole year had gone by, and I hadn’t done much to prepare other than update a few key pieces of gear. So I started up my hiking training and did really good until about May. Then summer craziness set in and I didn’t do much but a couple small hikes until October. At the end of October I was invited by a friend to go with her to Havasu Falls in February 2020! And suddenly I needed to get in shape, pronto!
Enter the 52 Hike Challenge. Not only do I work better under a time crunch (which I definitely have now!) but I also do better when I have a specific challenge I am trying to meet. So publicly joining a challenge to go on 52 hikes in one year gives me motivation to get out and get hiking!
My trip to Havasu Falls will be a good test of all my new gear, and then it’s just train, train, train (ie hike, hike, hike) until July.
That’s just 6 months from now! Oy! I gotta get in shape!