|Alpine glow on Mount Whitney|
This will be my second time, but this trip will be very different--although I have done it before, I previously did it in four sections over as many years. (It will be Ralph's third time; he thru-hiked in 2002.)
Getting a permit for the JMT is not the easiest thing in the world. During the peak season (July-September), permits are in high demand. Those wanting to start the trail in Yosemite face stiff competition. According to the National Park Service, "Of each daily quota for a trailhead, 60 percent can be reserved ahead of time while the remaining 40 percent is available on a first-come, first-served basis no earlier than 11 am the day before your hike begins as long as permits are available." We were prepared to stand in line to apply for two of the remaining permits, but luckily, that uncertainly has been avoided.
|Marmots along the John Muir Trail|
We are determined to hit the trails in peak condition rather than spending a couple of weeks getting into shape once on the trail. It's enough that we will have to adjust to the high elevations we'll be experiencing in the mountains (it's 14,496 ft. atop Whitney), we don't need to also adjust to the weight of our backpacks at the last minute!
Many hikers/backpackers consider a climb of Mount Whitney a rite of passage, I consider it a new opportunity to prove that "We're in the Mountains, Not over the Hill," because I'll be 72 this time around. If I can do it, so can you!
(Info on getting wilderness permits from the National Park Service, click here).
Susan "backpack45" Alcorn