I'm running the 221 mile John Muir Trail to support The Mountaineers Youth Programs!
On September 3rd I plan to start my most ambitious adventure yet: I'll be attempting to run the 221 mile John Muir Trail (JMT) from the Mount Whitney Portal to Yosemite Valley. The JMT holds a special place in my heart and I’m excited to test myself on what many consider to be America’s most beautiful trail. I’m also excited to use this opportunity to raise $5,000 for The Mountaineers’ Youth programs and would like to ask for your support!
Why the JMT?
Quite simply, it is where I’ve fallen in love multiple times. I fell in love with mountains as a 12 year-old doing a 50 mile, week-long backpacking trip with my Boy Scout troop where we summited Mount Whitney on the final day. I also fell in love with Sara on a trip to Whitney when we first started dating (which was also our first time we used crampons!). And I fell in love with Sara all over again when we hiked 70 miles of the trail for our honeymoon after our wedding in Yosemite. One day I hope we can show our daughter, Sienna, this gorgeous trail…
Why run it?
I’ve been fortunate to have built up my endurance over the past few years and am intrigued to see how far I can go. Running the Pigtails 200 miler in 45 hours at the end of May gave me some confidence that all those days of very little sleep, starting back at West Point, must have been good for something—between that and raising Sienna I’m pretty good at handling sleep deprivation :-). Of course, the JMT is much, much harder than anything I’ve ever done—the average altitude is 9,000 feet and the total elevation gain will be over 44,000 feet. I’ll be doing this completely unsupported—carrying everything with me except for the water I’ll find along the trail. The current unsupported record is 3.5 days--I'm hoping to finish in under 4 days.
Why Mountaineers’ Youth?
Sara and I joined The Mountaineers, a non-profit organization, to learn how to climb on the rock, snow, and ice on the mountains in the Pacific Northwest. After seeing the level of dedication of the volunteer leaders and the life-changing experiences The Mountaineers provides to those who take the various courses, I decided to give back by joining the Board of Directors. After serving for two years as the Treasurer, I was elected as President. Over the past three years we have been going through a significant transformation to focus on engaging youth because we know this next generation will be the future stewards of our land and waterways. We set the bar high and have exceeded expectations with 80% growth in youth programs, 5,000 hours of on-the-ground public lands stewardship, and an expanded community of 1,000 volunteer leaders delivering 3,200 courses and activities. In our Mountain Workshops we team up with community youth-serving organizations--YMCAs, Girl Scouts, youth homeless shelters and local schools, to name a few--to provide activities designed to build confidence, responsibility, trust and a passion for the outdoors while having a whole bunch of fun! The kids learn everything from how to rock climb...to using a compass...to campfire cooking...all while appreciating how to treat the outdoors with respect (Leave-No-Trace). We know that outdoor participation is declining among kids, but research shows that positive outdoor experiences during childhood can generate a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors. For a brief glimpse into the impact of just one of our various youth programs, watch this great Teen Venturing video.
I'll have Sara post updates on my Facebook page once I begin this journey. Thank you so much for your support!