Back in October 2014 or so, I was talking with a few family members about the possibility of doing the JMT. I was amped. I had wanted to do it for the last 3-4 years, but timing just wasn’t in my favor.
Summer 2015 would find me in a bit of transition. I was in a new job after 19 years and the time would be easier to take [though of course, now that I’m a month out- it’s challenging].
When it started getting REAL and we were talking dates, it became clear that no one else would be able to go. Kinda lame. Now I was faced with the question, ‘Would I go solo?’
The answer was an immediate, ‘Yes!’ With that I started figuring out what needed to happen.
I joined the JMT Yahoo Group, bought Elizabeth Wenk’s book and a set of maps from Tom Harrison. I was making strides.
Getting online, I quickly realized that the permit system had changed. Like…the week before…greeeeeat. It was going to be even harder than I thought. Yosemite had changed the lottery system and the JMT permit leaving from Happy Isle [pass through type] and exiting at Whitney had gone down to like 5 per day, with a total Donahue Pass exit quota of 45/day [you can read official information about it here: Yosemite JMT Permit Info]. ‘Oh, crap!’ [I also didn’t really understand the exit quota dealie.]
I needed to get my fax on. Now, to be honest, I was an idiot. ID-I-OT. I didn’t know what I was doing and was sending like 8 faxes/day. I figured, “Lottery…I better get lotsa tickets in the mix”. Dumb. I did this for the first week, until I got an email, basically telling me I was stupid and needed to stop wasting their time with multiple faxes. Rangers:1, Kyle:0.
As I received my daily denial, I started looking into all kinds of other starting points. Mainly on trails from the north and going through Tuolumne Meadows. But, it felt a bit foochie to me. I’m kinda traditional and wanted to do the ‘normal’ route. My plan was to drive up a bit earlier than my start date and dayhike Happy Isle to TM. Then, drive to my ‘other’ trailhead and do the rest. But, that was going to add days, so it was definitely a plan-C situation.
It wasn’t until day 13 of faxing that I received a confirmation email for my reservation. Hallelujah! It was better than a Golden Ticket. I was so amped, and am still in shock. I have to admit that I still open the email confirmation once a week to make sure it is what it says it is.
So, I’m set to start August 5th. The real planning…and training has begun.