We are now under 3 months until the start of our adventure which means that the real work needs to begin.
For those who are curious, we did in fact get our permit though for a slightly round-about start. Due to trailhead quotas as well as the Donohue Pass Exit Quota, we are pretty much skipping over the Yosemite section of the JMT. Thankfully we did Tuolumne to Happy Isles a couple years ago so as much as I regret not doing the whole thing in one go, at least I’m not missing out on too much of the trail. Our trailhead is in Tioga Pass and heads up out of the park over Mono & Parker Pass. We will rejoin the JMT a couple days in below Donohue Pass.
While that was certainly a stressful week in our planning, now we’re getting into the more important parts, which include our training regimen! There are many long-distance hikers who manage to get on the trail with little-to-no training. However, Dan & I prefer to calculate and offset our risks with proper preparation.
Last week we drew out a 3-month plan, filling in tasks that need to be accomplished through the weeks and listing out
training hikes to get us in shape. In addition to our weekend hikes, we’ll be walking the hills of our hometown and continuing our regular fitness routines through the week.
The first hike we chose to do is one I was familiar with, having done it with some friends a couple summers ago.
Date: Saturday April 9
Location: Chilliwack, BC
Approx. drive time from home: 1 h 15 min
Distance: 5 mi. / 8 km
Elevation gain: 2210 ft / 670 m
Max. elevation: 4270 ft / 1300 m
Time on trail: 3 hours
We started out mid-morning and quickly climbed through the forest. The trail is relatively wide, very easy to follow but with a steeper grade. We crossed a forest-service road and entered back into the forest again. We enjoyed a flatter section before really starting our climb. We could tell that we were gaining the shoulder of the mountain as the switchbacks shortened and got steeper.
Eventually we broke out into some rocks and were rewarded with a great view of Mt. Baker to the South and the Fraser Valley to the West.
We popped back into the forest for our final climb up to the ridge line. Most of the hikers stopped as soon as they made the meadow near the top, but I knew to press on a little bit further to gain the true summit of Elk Mountain. It was worth the extra 5 minutes of hiking as we had a 180-view of the North Cascade mountains arrayed South of us.
We took a good long break for some snacks and to enjoy the sunshine and the views before heading back down the trail to the car. The trip back was easily half the time as the climb up had been. We were glad to have started on the trail earlier in the day. It was definitely getting busier as we made our way down the mountain.
While it wasn’t a long trail, it was a good wake-up to our legs, and I feel that we accomplished the hike in good time and with only a moderate degree of effort. Next weekend we’ll be pushing ourselves a bit harder with a steeper climb!