Inspiration & Adventure

Randy Stahl Embarks On The John Muir Trail Powered By Muir Energy

John Muir Trail sunset

The Sierra, with its majestic peaks and passes, is an addiction that has its grasp on me, and probably will never go away. At least I hope not.

Summer is finally here on the west coast after a long, wet winter and spring. The John Muir Trail, The Range of Light, the Sierra, every summer I go back to camp, backpack, or thru-hike. Back in January I decided to do the John Muir Trail this summer going northbound (NOBO) entering via Horseshoe Meadows. The Sierra has been a challenge early on this year for PCT hikers and early JMT hikers. A quick Instagram #pct2019 search reveals record snow levels, and dangerous water crossings (my biggest concern), quite the adventure early on this backpacking season.

Food resupplies planned for Kearsarge Pass (via my buddy Chas who has been so kind to walk up and over that beast with 9 lbs. of food for me!), Muir Trail Ranch, Mammoth, and Tuolumne Meadows. As many calories I can fit in a bear can, whatever will give me energy, and whatever will not make me gag. Muir Energy is my go-to for backpacking, to have a handful of delicious energy boosting treats throughout the day, it is something to look forward to. Super tasty, calorie packed, and slow and fast burn options. I’m taking Muir back on the JMT where it all started!

Prep was pretty simple, didn’t change much for this season. With snow, for sure taking my Hillsound spikes, and possibly a Black Diamond Whippet. My trusty pack, which I absolutely love, Granite Gear Crown2 will come along once again. New shelter this year thanks to Hyperlite Mountain Gear, going to give their new Dirigo 2 a shot. To keep me warm at night, sticking with my Feathered Friends bag. And my top choice for my feet, Altra Lone Peak 4’s. I prefer either Injinji or Darn Tough socks (swap them out) with hot spots pre-taped with Leukotape. No blister-ever magic!

What to bring/packing: I try to keep it simple, precise, and as light as I can go. My base weight this year is. I only bring what I need, and for sure will use. Very little luxury. I love Jolly Ranchers while I walk in the mountains, so that is my luxury.

Training: hiked some, ran mostly, walk a ton at work. I was injured a lot this year with tendonitis, so I have taken it easy. Chiropractor (Katrina at Action Sports Chiropractic) and massage therapist (Jill at ASC) are my saviors, and secret weapon. Once I get my lungs, I am good to go. Starting at high elevation going northbound, I will camp a night or two before starting my walk. Then just walk.

July 2nd will soon be here in a few days, permit in hand, my pack as light as I possibly can get it, and those first steps on dirt or snow. It’s what I day dream about every single day. It is finally time to go back to where I love so much.

Pictures of the beautiful snow and stories as soon as I can get an internet connection!


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