Pam LeBlanc is heading to California, where shell backpack the John Muir Trail. The very last part of the trail overlaps the High Sierra Trail, where she took this photo Looking down on Guitar Lake while climbing toward Mount Whitney in 2013. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Permits, check. Dehydrated meals, check. Tent, camp stove and sleeping bag, check.

Chris LeBlanc mailed this bucket full of supplies to a resupply point along the trail. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Im about to disappear.

Later this month, my husband and I will head to California, where well begin a 16-day backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. The 200-plus mile route begins at Yosemite National Park and finishes at Mount Whitney. In between stand 11 mountain passes, countless streams and a population of black bears.

I love backpacking, and weve been dreaming about this adventure for several years. Permits are tough to come by; so is enough time off to do the trip right. Now weve got both, and the long-awaited trip begins.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, John Muir wrote. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

I cant wait to get out there.

Well hike between 12 and 15 miles each day, taking time to soak up the beauty along the way.

Pam LeBlanc will wear these Dirty Girl Gaiters while she is backpacking. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Last weekend, Chris mailed two plastic buckets full of food, camera batteries, fresh underwear and other miscellaneous items to our resupply point at Muir Trail Ranch. Well pick those buckets up after weve been on the trail about a week.

We travel light. Well wear exactly the same shorts and shirts the entire trip. (No decisions!) Well eat freeze-dried meals and an assortment of snack foods like dried fruit, beef jerky, trail mix, energy bars and nuts.

Right now, Im in eat-as-much-food-as-possible mode. Its nearly impossible to carry and consume enough calories on a trip like this, and Im trying to get ahead of the game.

Yesterday, I tried out my new gaiters, stretchy cuffs of fabric that attach to my hiking boots to keep out dirt, burrs and pebbles.

This weekend, Ill stuff, unload and restuff my backpack to get things just right. And before I know it, Ill be lacing up my trail shoes, swinging on my pack, and striking out on what Im pretty sure will rank as one of my lifes biggest adventures. ]]