Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Think We're Ready

First -- best of luck to the brave firefighters who are battling the blazes near Yosemite!  I hope, for the sake of those courageous men and women, the residents, and the wildlife, that the fire is contained and extinguished soon.

The girls and I are physically ready.  Our training regimen worked well (visit our main blog for the trip reports) -- we now consistently hike 2000-4000 feet of elevation gain at 2-3 mph without trying to rush.  The terrain here in the Whites is, from what I hear, much more difficult than the terrain on the John Muir Trail, so hopefully our JMT hike will feel relaxed and enjoyable.  We're used to steep and rocky trails with boulders, roots, and scrambling, so the easier (from what I hear) dirt-type path on the JMT should feel welcome.  We plan to average 10-12 miles a day on the JMT, and we're used to doing that in half a day here in the Whites, so I strongly feel we're as prepared as we're ever going to be.  I think the only two things that will feel very different, and therefore challenging, are 1) high altitude, and 2) extensive exposure to the sun.

The slow, southbound approach to Whitney will hopefully take care of the altitude...we'll gradually acclimate as we hike.  Sunscreen and hats will hopefully take care of the sun exposure.

Our resupply buckets have been mailed.  Our tent has been sealed.  Every piece of clothing and gear has been thoroughly tested.  Our housesitter is ready to move in.  Our dog-watcher is ready to keep Max. 

We very much look forward to seeing all the beauty and splendor of the JMT!  We are excited to go!

---I've gotten a few emails lately regarding pack weight for the girls.  I always keep the girls' pack weight to 10% or less of their body weight.  The girls are avid hikers, and they hike like adults, but they are growing children and I do not want to risk setting them up for back or joint problems later in life.  If this was a one-time thing, and we never hiked during the year, then maybe that would be different...but we hike every week, year-round, and it's important they carry an appropriate amount of weight for their growing frames.  I have heard a few parents brag about how many pounds their kids' backpack weighs...this isn't the right approach...my job as a parent is to protect my kids, and keeping their carrying weight to an appropriate poundage is one of the safety measures we follow when hiking.

Thanks to modern-day ultralight equipment, each girl will carry her own sleeping bag, small emergency bivy, pack cover, water, snacks, all her clothing, campshoes, headlamp, compass, bandannas, hiking towel, hat, gloves, duct tape, and water filter - and all of that, put together, comes to 9% of each kid's body weight.

That's it for now.  I'll post one more time (on this blog) before we leave, and I'll post another trip report on our main blog tomorrow evening.

You'll be able to follow us while we hike on my Facebook Page -- but I don't know how often I'll have cell/internet connection (probably not very often).

I will post a detailed, day-by-day account of our adventures after we return.

'Til later this week!

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