In The Footsteps of Greatness - Chapter 2 (Excerpt)

January 27, 2014

Here's my third weekly book excerpt.  I'm posting them chronologically (imagine that) so this selection is from Chapter 2.  This is a relatively short chapter as it is mostly logistics, but I tried to make it interesting and relevant.  Enjoy!

 

Chapter 2 - Trip Logstics & Planning (Excerpt)

 

Planning all the details and intricacies of an undertaking like this can be daunting, but I jumped into it with enthusiasm and ferocity.  I recognized that simply flying by the seat of my pants as I had done previously was not an effective strategy.   So I took out a piece of paper and mapped out everything I would need to figure out.

 

  • What direction would I hike?

  • When would I go?

  • How would I obtain a permit and how soon would I need to reserve it?

  • How many days would I plan to complete the trail in?

  • What gear would I need to go as fast and light as possible?

  • What shoes would I run in?

  • How would I get to the trail and back?

  • How much food would I need?  Could I carry it all or would I need to resupply at some point along the trail?

 

Equipped with this checklist, the planning process was actually fairly painless and enjoyable.  And every time I figured out another puzzle piece the dream became a little more tangible.

 

Direction

I decided to start in Yosemite Valley and hike toward Mt. Whitney, trekking north to south.  The merits of each direction are debatable, but I liked the idea of starting in one of the most beautiful valleys in the world and finishing on the highest point in the continental U.S.  The downside is that the 11 passes I would have to traverse would be more difficult from my chosen direction, but I wasn’t going for easy.

 

Food

In terms of what and how much food to bring, I chose to go simple.  I didn’t want to have to deal with cooking utensils or a stove, so I brought bars, meal replacement shakes, and one packet of smoked salmon per day (the fat, protein, and salt of the salmon turned out to be ideal and I craved it all day long).  Being a nutritionist, I created a detailed spreadsheet and shot for about 4000 calories per day with a fat percentage as high as I could get it (Turned out to be 48% of my daily calories).   Even though storing your food in bear canisters is required for much of the trail, I made the conscious decision not to bring one because:

 

1) I didn’t want to carry the weight

2) I didn’t want to use a pack big enough to fit a bear can

3) I thought my baseball player arm could throw a rope to a high enough branch that my food would be safe from bears.

 

As you will soon discover, the decision not to bring a bear canister would greatly impact my trip.

 

Next up: Chapter 3 - And So It Begins

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