Somehow, after hiking the Rae Lakes Loop with my kids in 2009, the JMT changed from a dream to a goal. I’m not sure at what point I realized I was actually starting to think in terms of actually doing this hike, but I found myself researching re-supply points, the logistics of getting to and from the trailheads, and reading journals of others who had completed this trail. I think completing the Rae Lakes Loop trail gave me more confidence in my ability to hike difficult trails. I now understand the physical shape I need to be in to not just DO the trail, but actually enjoy the journey. I am now at a place in my life where I can take the time off from work, my kids are grown, and my wife is incredibly supportive!
I don’t have any illusions about this endeavor. A significant percentage of folks striving to complete the JMT do not finish. The trail is difficult. I have never backpacked longer than 5 days at stretch, and do not know how I will respond to the challenges of a multi-week hike.
So… I set a goal for 2010 of hiking the first 100 miles of the trail. This section is ‘easier’ than the remainder of the trail, has more options for getting off the trail if needed, and will allow me to better understand my own capabilities. A perfect 10 day trip to get a ‘taste’ of the JMT and gauge my readiness for a full JMT hike!
The training has begun!!!