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Archive for January, 2014

Word from the Trail

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This summer I took a break from my regular life to do something I had been wanting to try for a while: hike a long trail. I decided to hike the 211-mile John Muir Trail to explore the mountains that were close to my relatively new home in Oakland and to spend some time with my boyfriend Robin who had been wanting to make this trek from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney for quite some time. Although I had spent several days backpacking before, I had never spent several weeks doing it. While I was almost sure that I could physically do this walk, I had no idea if it was something that would challenge me to the core every moment, be something that I fell in love with, or fell somewhere in between.

We prepared for it by packing and shipping boxes of nonperishable food for resupply at outposts along the trail and thinking about what gear to take. Just as importantly, we thought about what gear not to take to keep our packs light. For me, art supplies made the cut, but I wondered if I’d have any time to practice my art, or if it would be all hiking all the time.

It turns out that not only could I do the hike, but I absolutely loved it. Although I only pulled out my art supplies a few times (I brought watercolor pencils, some paper and a brush) I spent some time on the trail thinking about my art practice and how there are some similarities between setting out to do this long hike and pursuing a career as an artist. Here are some of my thoughts from the trail:

• Sometimes the mountain you think you have to climb is not actually the mountain on your path. Stay present; don’t be scared.

• It’s amazing how far you can get just putting one foot in front of the other, day after day.

• It’s amazing how far you can go by pacing yourself, and doing a little every day, rather than trying to accomplish everything in one day.

• It’s true that you will get stronger with a consistent practice.

Here are some of my drawings from the hike and some paintings I made when I got back home: