JMT Day 6: Deja Vu, But Reversed

Date: 8/23/17 | Miles Hiked: 14

The sounds of coyotes paired with a particularly chilly evening made for a difficult night’s sleep. A thick layer of frost on my bear canister in the morning made me feel justified for freezing in my tent the night before (apparently I needed proof that it was cold?).

Today’s hike took me along a section of trail my husband and I had done northbound last year. I already think about him often on the trail, and today he was on my mind constantly. Continue reading “JMT Day 6: Deja Vu, But Reversed”

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JMT Day 5: $12 Shower Feels Like a Million Bucks

Date: 8/22/17 | Miles Hiked: 14.7

This was it: the day of my first resupply. I was heading to Red’s Meadow and had spent a while thinking about how much time I should spend there, considering the fact that I was a half day behind my original plan. Continue reading “JMT Day 5: $12 Shower Feels Like a Million Bucks”

JMT Day 4: Scots Love the Sierras

Date: 8/21/17 | Miles Hiked: 15.6 | Passes: Donohue, Island

Trail life had been getting to me. The delayed start to my trip caused a swelling anxiety to interfere with the what was supposed to be a relatively stress-free time in my life.

I spent evenings thinking about how I would catch up to my original plan and days cursing the climbs and water-soaked trails that slowed me down. I knew this stress was self-inflicted and unnecessary, yet I couldn’t shake it. And the fact that I couldn’t shake it gave me even more anxiety and caused me to dislike myself and question my sense of adventure. Continue reading “JMT Day 4: Scots Love the Sierras”

5 Tips to Start Hiking Earlier While Backpacking

Backpacking trips that require major mileage also require early rises. Getting to camp before the sun goes down is the goal, and it’s nice to have some buffer time for lunch and longer breaks.

But those of us who don’t consider ourselves morning people are especially not morning people when faced with the cold, sometimes wet mornings the mountains have to offer.

So how can you get from sleeping bag to the trail as quickly as possible with minimum morning suffering? Here are a few ideas. Continue reading “5 Tips to Start Hiking Earlier While Backpacking”

JMT Day 2: Things Don’t Always Get Worse

Date: 8/19/17 | Miles Hiked: 17 (7 Half Dome, 10 JMT)

I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. to hike Half Dome, carefully adjusting my tent in hopes it would dry from last night’s downpour while I was gone.

With nothing but a light daypack filled with water and a few snacks, hiking this Yosemite classic was freeing.

The difficulty of steep switchbacks and rock stairs toward the end of the hike — even without my giant pack — caught me by surprised and wore me down just in time for the infamous cables section. Continue reading “JMT Day 2: Things Don’t Always Get Worse”

How to Do Laundry on a Backpacking Trip

I didn’t plan to do laundry on my two week backpacking trip along the John Muir Trail.

That’s right. Two quick-dry tees. Two sports bras. Two longsleeve shirts. Two pairs of pants. Two pairs of socks. Two pairs of underwear. Two weeks of hiking. Zero days of laundry.

I didn’t plan on doing laundry until I discovered the true stench potential of the human body — more specifically of my human body. It was quite impressive and even made its mark on my puffy jacket. My socks more closely resembled crispy tortilla chips than cloth. My pants seemed to have dirt permanently rubbed into the fabric. And I won’t even mention my unmentionables.

This is when the wise words of a man I met on the trail known as Mr. Clean really sank in: It’s nice to have clean clothes.

If you agree, read on. Continue reading “How to Do Laundry on a Backpacking Trip”

JMT Day 1: Ask and You Shall Receive

Date: 8/18/17 | Miles Hiked: 5

Today was supposed to be easy.

With my permit requiring me to spend my first night at Little Yosemite Valley, I only had five miles between the trailhead and my first night of camping. From there I planned to complete Half Dome as a day hike. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Continue reading “JMT Day 1: Ask and You Shall Receive”

Why Backpackers are Obsessed with Smartwater

If you’ve been doing research for an upcoming backpacking trip, you might have noticed that many backpackers use Smartwater bottles in place of a Nalgene. This seems counter-intuitive.

Why would a backpacker — a lover of nature — use a disposable water bottle?

The answer to this perplexing question can mainly be answered based on how that backpacker filters water in the backcountry. But there are a few other reasons why Smartwater is a smart choice on the trail.

Continue reading “Why Backpackers are Obsessed with Smartwater”

John Muir Trail Gear: My Complete Backpacking Packing List

Two weeks. Two-hundred twelve miles. How do you pack for such a trip? Packing for a backpacking trip, whether it’s the John Muir Trail, a different thru-hike or a weekend getaway, can be a difficult task. What you bring can’t be left in a hotel room or the spare bedroom of a friend; it’s with you for the long-haul. Overpacking means carrying extra weight, and underpacking means forgetting potentially vital items.

My John Muir Trail packing list sticks with the basics. While a few of my items might be considered luxuries, for the most part I’m sticking with only what I absolutely need to avoid hauling extra weight over the trail’s seven mountain passes.

Continue reading “John Muir Trail Gear: My Complete Backpacking Packing List”

Colorado Backpacking: Rawah Wilderness

Backpacking in Colorado is a rewarding experience that offers incredible views to those willing to put in the effort. One of my favorite places to backpack in Colorado has it all: mountain vistas, alpine lakes and no crowds. Oh, and did I mention moose? This magical place is known as Rawah Wilderness.

Continue reading “Colorado Backpacking: Rawah Wilderness”