I’ve been training like crazy for the JMT. This is mainly because I see this trail as having so many inherent hazards this year (e.g., snow on high passes, swollen creek crossings, mosquitoes by the bushel, to name a few), and I do not want my fitness (or lack thereof) to be added into this grab-bag of danger. Also, Timmy has legs that are about a half a mile long, and I am a much happier camper (and I’m sure he is too) when I can keep up. So alas, I have been doing a variety of hikes with a variety of weight throughout the spring and summer in order to feel prepared and ready to carry 35-40 pounds over some of the highest elevations in the lower 48.
Some of the more hilarious training experiences involved nightly walks with my mom when I was home in Kentucky for a few weeks, wherein I would carry my 65-liter pack, full of textbooks, craft supplies, cans of sand, cans of tomatoes, and the entire Harry Potter book series for weight, while she would push our two Pomeranians in their stroller (yes, they have a stroller). It was a sight to behold.
Some of the more epic training hikes included my trek to the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine via the Hunt Trail, which comprises the last five miles of the Appalachian Trail, as well as the Penobscot Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park (by the way, Maine is rad. Go there). More recently, I hiked to the summit of Humphreys Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona at 12,633, and only a slim 20 miles from my house in Flagstaff, in addition to a few other rad hikes around Northern Arizona like the Kachina Trail, the Abineau Canyon Trail (possibly my all-time favorite in the area), and the Little Elden Spring/Little Bear trail in the Dry Lake Hills. For each of the less difficult hikes I’ve tried to at least approximate the amount of weight I’ll be carrying on the JMT, while the more gnarly ones like Katahdin and Humphreys got a bit of the weight shaved off for time-saving purposes.
Although I haven’t even stepped onto the JMT yet, I can confidently say that this has already been one of the most incredible summers yet! Cheers to my mom and all my hiking buddies who have shared these beautiful trails with me so far this year.
9 days until liftoff!!