Here is what I am thinking for Sheppy Quest 2008:
I am going to start on the same Goose Creek Trail from my last Sheppy Quest (see http://colorado.ericshepard.com/sheppyquest2005.htm)
But when Goose Creek crosses Hankins Pass Trail, I will take a left and head up almost to Hankins Pass and then cut across Lake Park Trail to McCurdy Park Trail which will take me back to the Goose Creek Trail.
The entire loop should be about 25 to 30 miles which I think would be the farthest I've ever actually backpacked on a Sheppy Quest. Looking at the profiles, it is certainly the toughest hike I will have done. Rather than doing just a weekend, I think I may do a Friday to Monday Sheppy Quest this time. Maybe I should plan on some more time. I am probably not in the kind of shape I ideally be in for a Sheppy Quest, but I cannot go three whole years without doing one. And of course, part of the appeal of the Sheppy Quest is pushing my body to physical exhaustion. Physical exhaustion should be easy as overweight as I am.
What is a SheppyQuest? Well, it is obviously named after a Vision Quest. Vision Quest is the Native American tradition where an older child goes out on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness. The child would tune into the spirit world for the purpose of discovering his (or her?) intended spiritual and life direction. Usually, a guardian animal would come to the child in a vision and at that point the life direction would become clear. My understanding is that the child would go out into the wilderness with basically nothing. No food. No water. I do not think they had a weapon for protection. Seems sort of dangerous.
I sort of doubt I will send Connor or Tyler on vision quests as they get older. For one thing, Mommy would never go for it.
My Sheppy Quest is quite a bit more tame. I bring food and water, and in fact have quite a big backpack full of camping stuff when I go. I have maps and a GPS unit and an overall plan of where I am going. I am able to give Tracy GPS coordinates of just about where I will be camping every night. I also do follow established trails so getting lost is almost impossible. Plus, I do always see some (but very few) people on my trips.
But, I do head off into the wilderness by myself. Last time, I saw a Bob Cat which I figured was my spirit guide, but he never revealed anything to me, so maybe it was just a bob cat. I think I do the Sheppy Quest more because it gives me a chance to back pack, which I love, but cannot do with a wife and kids yet. I do quietly contemplate life, think about all kinds of things in an attempt to bring some sort of self - clarity or understanding to my life. I would not say that I meditate. My thoughts are too random and scattered to call it meditation.
My wife begs me to bring someone along, and I have had offers of people who really want to come, but part of the Sheppy Quest is the alone time. My mother-in-law is convinced that going out camping by yourself is one of the most dangerous things you can ever do. I am convinced that where I go and the fact that my wife does know about where I am makes it much less dangerous than driving to work every day. So, obviously, it is not just about backpacking. If it were I would invite one or two guys to come along to satisfy my wife and her mommy.
This year, actually, my wife did not even bother bringing up the standing request that I not go all by myself. She did demand that I don't do anything dangerous. This probably means she finally accepts that fact that going off into the wilderness is not in itself a dangerous activity. Actually, she is just probably more tired of the argument than afraid that something will happen to me. I have enough life insurance that I am probably worth more dead than alive, but she hates it when I say that. Children need their fathers and all that crap.
So, there we are. I am currently "scheduled" for September 12 - September 15. Scheduled means I have permission from my wife and I do not have any auctions during that time. I am pretty excited. It has been too long since I've had anything to post at http://colorado.ericshepard.com