“You’re hiking how far solo?” “How are you going to hike the entire John Muir Trail when you’ve never even been backpacking before?”
These were the two most common questions that accompanied baffled looks from Christy’s corporate coworkers when she mentioned her plans. Legitimate questions Christy had pondered herself. Yet, she couldn’t fully express the pull to hike more than 220 miles in the California High Sierra Mountains. She only knew that her whole being told her that she needed to. After six months of research, reading books, watching documentaries, and training hikes, Christy began walking southbound on the world-famous trail.
Throughout her wild journey, Christy encountered freezing temperatures, pelting hail storms, and losing her way, but found trail family, incredible views, and experiences that would change her life forever. Hiking up and over ten different mountain passes gave Christy a lot of time to think about why her nine-year marriage was falling apart, gave her the chance to truly embody her individualism, time to make new friends, and the strength she would need on and off the trail. Her life could never again be the same.
This is one woman’s account of the three weeks she spent on the iconic trail.
Christy Teglo’s book, Weathered: Finding Strength on the John Muir Trail, is a memoir chronicling her journey of self-discovery while conquering the John Muir Trail.
Teglo’s decision to hike the trail came after hearing a coworker enthusiastically reminisce about their time on the trail and wistfully mention their desire to return. Teglo’s life was changing at the time, including separation from her husband. The hike would give her space to think and time to make some choices.
As she set out to make her dream a reality, preparing for the trip created challenges, especially because she had never done a lengthy, difficult journey like the John Muir Trail. Obtaining trail access tickets is one of the hurdles. A hiker is permitted one ticket for themselves and one for a hiking companion. Also, you may not be able to get tickets at your preferred time because they are distributed by a lottery system. There is a six-month waiting time after receiving the tickets before you can hike the trail. During the six-month wait, Teglo purchased the necessary equipment and practiced hiking on unfamiliar terrain.
Due to the terrain, weather and altitude, the trip was grueling at times, as was finding water. The breathtaking views and possibilities for self-examination, on the other hand, were priceless.
Even though miserable, Teglo persevered, encountering few hikers and becoming friends with several she met. Many times, they “leap-frogged” along the way only to meet up again in the evening or sometimes days later.
Teglo does a stirring, inspirational job of setting up the challenges and excitement of the hike. As you read, you feel the strain and anxiety inherent in the hardships and realities of the 211-mile hike, along with the triumphs and phenomena of the experience. As the narrative unfolds, you can easily envision the hurdles, the fear of running out of water, the unexpected freezing nights when your sleeping bag fails to keep you warm and the camaraderie and kindness of fellow hikers.
Weathered: Finding Strength on the John Muir Trail is written in a way that you feel Christy is a friend telling you her story, causing you to feel the adrenalin rush and desire to hike the trail, too.
I was awe-struck by the photographs. Even though they were in black and white, they were stunningly beautiful! I can only imagine how beautiful they would be in color.
Thank you to Reedsy/Discovery and Christy Teglo, for providing me with a copy of Weathered: Finding Strength on the John Muir Trail. I have provided an unbiased review.