Journey of a Lifetime

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of the January 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine to read while seated in a waiting room. The article Journey of a Lifetime caught my attention. The gist of the article is that Alex McInturff, a master’s student at the Earth Systems Program in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, set out on foot in the spring of 2009 to duplicate John Muir’s 1868 320-mile solo trek from the Bay Area to Yosemite. He kept a journal and he took photos. A couple of Alex’s personal insights really spoke to me. So much so, I jotted them down in my notebook, so I can give more thought to and share them with you here.

“Your life is made up of a whole lot of space between memorable moments. You have to appreciate those spaces too. They’re important to you.”

“… don’t dismiss the possibility of doing something you thought you’d never do in a week, a weekend, a day. It may be there’s a whole new you other there just waiting to be discovered. Take the first step.”

Alex McInturff, a Master’s student in Earth Systems, is already well-known for his spring trek retracing John Muir’s 1868 walk from Oakland to Yosemite. This summer he has been working to create an online narrative and spatial analysis of his “California Transect,” in conjunction with his Master’s thesis. Look for news of the launch of that site soon. In the meantime, Audubon magazine has just published an interview with Alex: Following Muir’s Footsteps. Jon Christensen – The Bill Lane Center for the American West – Stanford University

McInturff is currently comparing his visual observations from the trip, as well as interviews with community groups that he did along the way, with historical land maps to develop conservation strategies for private land. He plans to graduate from his master’s program in December and hopes to wrap up this project soon thereafter. Audubon Magazine

Follow Alex McInturff’s blog California Transect – John Muir, 1868 — Alex McInturff, 2009. For a slideshow of photos from his journey, view Retracing John Muir’s footsteps, Los Angeles Times.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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