Cover image: Nearing the Mount Katahdin, Maine, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. All images: Aaron Ibey
After my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2016, living out of my backpack for nearly 7 months, hiking 2,200 miles up the east coast of the United States and experiencing the best adventure of my life, so far… I'm now asking myself what's next?
Hiking through New Jersey on the Appalachian Trail. Enjoying the shade from the swealtering heat in mid summer.
I've thought about this for a while, even when I was still on the A.T., because I knew at some point that journey would end and I'd need to move on.
You'd think living in the woods for half a year I'd get my fix of adventuring. Quite honestly, it just made me crave that sense of adventure and exploration even more.
And then it hit me: why stop at the Appalachian Trail? So in June of this year I will be traveling to the west coast to explore the High Sierra's via the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, a 220-mile trail starting in Yosemite Valley, extending south to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states.
The giant pines of the High Sierra on Lady Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Yosemite National Park.
On this trip my main goal is to photograph this trail and show the culture of long distance hikers and beautiful scenery of the Sierra Mountain range.
Climbing Madera Peak was almost like being thrown onto another planet. Being well over 10,000 feet above sea level, very little grows here, creating something of a moonscape.
I'll be waking up way before sunrise and going to sleep long after the sun has set, scouring these mountains to find that perfect light.
Why? I travel to be changed, to get out of my comfort zone, see new places and meet new people. Thru-hiking is one realm where mystery reigns, where you can transcend the apps that show photos of these places, where to eat, where's cool to hang out and where the best view points are. I appreciate technology. But more than that, I love doing the exploring myself, heading down an unknown road in search of what lies in wait.