Backpacking the JMT (for real this time…hopefully)

May 17, 2017

Now that I’ve had almost a year to recover from both of my surgeries, I’ve been trying out my new feet on the trails and it seems that I will be able to attempt another long-distance hike. This summer, I will be embarking on an epic adventure to thru-hike the John Muir Trail (JMT).

I’ve tried hiking the trail once before in 2015 and had to abandon the hike for a couple of reasons: my hiking partner fell victim to altitude sickness and I succumbed to agonizing foot pain. You can read about that awful adventure here.

Up until now, I’ve been hesitant to make this announcement public since all of my other attempts to complete a long-distance hike failed miserably. However, I’ve been devoting so much time to this effort and I’ve always been open about all of my experiences, good and bad, that I felt compelled to share.

I will not be going alone. I’ve bamboozled my husband into coming with me and I fear that he will want to kill me when we’re hiking for days and days on end in the wilderness before we see any sign of civilization (up to 10 days, depending on how fast we hike).

We will be hiking the entire length of the trail, which is about 211 miles, plus some. Since obtaining permits for the popular entry points on the trail are difficult to achieve (there are strict daily quotas and a lottery system), I opted to enter the trail from the south, performing the alternate northbound hike. Many people start in the north at Yosemite Valley and hike south to the terminus at Mt. Whitney. The reason for this is because Mt. Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 14,505 feet; therefore, most would prefer to start at the lower elevation (Yosemite’s Happy Isles at 4,067 ft) and work their way up as they go along. We will be entering at a point on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) about 17 miles south of the JMT. We will join with the JMT, hike east to summit Mt. Whitney, and then turn around and go back to hike the entire length of the JMT north.

In total, we will be hiking about 260 miles. If we can complete this hike, it will be the longest stretch of trail I’ve hiked in one continuous trip and I can say that I completed a long-distance hike for real this time…hopefully.


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