Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Shakedown Hike

I spent Memorial Day weekend exploring my backyard. No, I didn't pitch a tent at home, I went to the Angeles National Forest for 3 days and 2 nights.

I gotta tell ya, my backyard is even more awesome than I thought! Walking just under 30 miles in 3 days, I was treated to waterfalls, streams and rivers, wildflowers, cabins, clean air and great company!

Big Santa Anita Canyon

You can check out more pictures from my trip here.

This trek gave me the opportunity to test drive some new gear too.

My new Leki Voyager trekking poles are great. Got em on sale & they seem to be quite durable. They got caught a few times between rocks and bent in positions they shouldn't have but they survived.

Gotta be more careful.

I had also purchased an air mattress recently which I was very eager to try out.

Let me tell ya, my tailbone and bony butt have never been happier!

The REI Stratus is a great air pad - a bit narrow as my arms hang off to the sides but I still love it. Besides, its regular sized counterparts are all the same width.

I'm dirty and hungry, so gotta go eat & shower (not sure in which order yet). Hope your long weekend was just as wonder-full and fun, if not more so.

Happy Trails

Sunday, May 13, 2012

JMT Wind Storm Update

The winter of 2010 - 2011 gifted the Sierra Nevada mountain range with 230% more snow than average. When we traversed Forester Pass in July 2011, we did so in 5 - 6 feet of snow. This year, I will be faced with another challenge.

While snow shouldn't be much of a factor, the freakish wind storm that ripped through parts of the Inyo National Forest (and neighboring forests) last November may present new hurdles - literally. In some areas, winds upwards of 150 mph were recorded. The picture below shows the aftermath of the storm. 

The trail is under there somewhere
The latest reports from the Inyo National Forest show that at least a 17 mile stretch of the John Muir trail was affected. 

Adding hurdles to my training routine might be a good idea given the obstacle course that may be waiting for me come August. Clean up efforts are already underway so I'm hoping that most of the debris blocking the trails will be removed before the summer backpacking season. 

A HUGE thank you goes out to the Forest Service and every person involved in the daunting task of clearing the debris. Your efforts are greatly appreciated! 

If you, or anyone you know can aid with the clean up effort, please visit and to volunteer. A trail clean up project is scheduled for June 30 - July 7. Thank you.

P.S. - If you can recommend exercises I can do that will help me leap over these downed trees with a full pack, I'm all ears :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Three Months To Go

My excitement level for this hike has tripled in the last week. The energy and encouragement from other hikers at the PCT Kickoff really amped me up.

And, my countdown timer is down into double digits! That means in just over three months time, I'll take my picture at the mileage sign at Happy Isles and point to the very bottom of the sign! I'm getting fired up just thinking about it.

A few people have asked me recently how I train for the John Muir Trail. As you may have guessed from the name of my journal, I hike and practice yoga.

I hike between 3 - 7 miles twice during the week, and try to squeeze in a 10 - 15 mile hike on the weekends with a semi-loaded pack. I supplement my hiking with yoga - the perfect cross training activity because it keeps me strong and aligned.

I LOVE yoga and prefer it over running, lifting weights, and climbing stairs because I have done all those things in the past and none of them come close to the benefits of yoga.

Yoga provides me with a great workout, while simultaneously relaxing my body and mind - just like hiking and backpacking. If you've never practiced yoga, you may find it hard to believe that I sweat as much on my mat in 90 minutes as I did when I ran my half marathon. You'll also be surprised how fast your heart can thump inside your chest with such minimal movement. It still surprises me.

Enough about yoga, let's talk backpacking. Although I will use much of my existing gear on the JMT and therefore don't require any shakedown hikes, I'd like to spend a night or two in the backcountry on at least two separate occasions prior to my hike.

Why? Because it's fun and I can! Besides, the mountains have been calling for a while now and those calls are turning into screams because they have gone unanswered for too long. Must silence the voices :)