I have one other big trip coming up this summer, plus two other long term goals to reach for.
My other big trip will not consume me as much as the John Muir Trail for three reasons. It will probably be a solo trip, it will be a 4 day trip over the July 4th holiday, and there are no permits involved.
While some people fear traveling solo, I find it liberating under most circumstances.
A 4 day trip means that it will be easy to plan a route because there are fewer variables. It also means I can carry all my food and equipment easily without needing a resupply.
Not having to apply for permits is self-explanatory, eliminating the red tape that land managers will put on public lands. I understand why some places need permits to regulate usage and to help maintain access, however its still another hurtle I do not have to go through.
My trip will be to the High Unitas of Utah to complete the Highline trail from west to east, traversing the entire range. Most people will hike the trail from Hayden pass on highway 150 to Chepeta Lake or to Leidy Peak, spending 60-80 miles on trail. However the entire trail extends to highway 191 on the east side, with a total mileage of 95.7 miles according to the forest service. It is supposedly an amazing trail, staying at over 10,000 feet for all but the eastern most portions, with an elevation gain of over 15,000 feet.
The other goal with this trip will be to climb King’s peak, the highest point in Utah. One of the passes I will be crossing is Anderson pass, where I can take a side trip of 1 mile and 900 feet of gain to achieve the summit, with some easy class 2 climbing.
My other two goals are “marathon efforts”, where they will require multiple trips to complete.
First will be my 14er trips. These will keep happening most weekends when weather and conditions are right. Some of these will be weekend long backpacking trips to setup a high camp, where some will be day hikes. An overnight trip to conundrum hot springs while bagging Castle and Conundrum, the 4 pass loop while climbing Snowmass peak, and backpacking into Chicago basin are the three most exciting trips that are in the works.
Secondly will be the Colorado trail. Some people ask me why I don’t consider this to be as big of a trip as John Muir or the Highline trail this year. Since I will be section hiking it over multiple weekends, most section will be 60-80 miles depending on if I get a two or three day weekend. It is also closer to home, with much more traffic than the Highline trail and much easier access to roads and towns than the John Muir trail, making it easier to hike without a lot of planning. If I was planning on thru hiking the Colorado trail in one shot, that would be a different story, however I can not afford to take that much time off from work.
I will be also training for a half marathon in august the weekend before I leave to go to California for the JMT, and there is also a possibility of a Rainier and/or Shasta climb this summer, although those are very faint plans that I don’t have a lot of confidence in. I may try also try to get in a few days of backpacking in Utah. Under the rim trail in Bryce and Fish/Owl Creek Canyon are two areas I’m very interested in seeing this year.
This year is going to be good!