They made it! The guys cleared Mount Whitney on their #JMT2013 trek at about 8:15 a.m. (PDT) today. It's all (more or less) downhill and then home from here for the #JMT2013 crew!
The guys - Andy, Chris and Paul - met up at Tuolumne Meadows trailhead on Saturday, July 13 to begin this awesome 200-plus mile adventure covering the John Muir Trail, a legendary trail in Central California that courses through Yosemite National Park (and the Sierra Nevada Mountains) and ends with a summit of Mount Whitney.
Update 9:15 a.m.. MDT ... they finished! This is the sign at the end of the line!
Update 5:15 p.m. MDT ... Andy called me from his iPhone and told me they were drinking a beer. (Well-deserved, I say!) Next up, cheeseburgers. Then they'll hit the hay at their hotel room in Lone Pine, Calif.
I asked Andy why they summitted Mount Whitney so early in the day. They knew they wanted an early start, he said, to avoid complications from weather. By 5:15 a.m. (PDT) they were on the trail. They also knew they had 14 miles ahead of them and a 6,000-foot drop in elevation when they left Whitney. It rained and snowed up top, but they gathered some video, then headed down. It rained almost the entire way. How do they feel now?
"It's crazy," Andy said. "I feel really good about it. We're going to miss being in the wilderness."
Their pace - about 16 miles a day and about 2.8 miles per hour - was pretty tough, but necessary. (Chris and Andy have planes to catch Sunday, so there wasn't much room for error.)
"At times you're wondering why you did this," he explained. "As soon as we got to camp, we had fun. We're teasing each other and there's a beautiful lake right there."
Any journey that takes you, via your own power, 200 miles over mountain passes (sometimes two a day!) tends to teach a guy a few life lessons.
"The John Muir Trail taught me patience, to fight through pain and to enjoy the little things in life," Andy said. "This trip has been tough yet so much fun. The wilderness of the John Muir Trail is amazing. We didn't cross a road for 200 miles. I haven't even seen a car for two weeks. We've been so isolated from the 'real world', and that feels great."
What else did two average guys discover on the John Muir Trail? That they weren't the only average guys who tackled this adventure. Still, it's a pretty awesome accomplishment!
We're more anxious than ever for updates and stories from the trail. When we get it, we'll share the tales from the #JMT2013 adventure with you right here.
Got a question you want us to toss out to Chris, Andy and Paul? Let 'em rip in the comments. I'll ask, so check back here!
#JMT2013 Field Notes 7/26/13
By Juliette Rule
July 26, 2013
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