How To Plan For A John Muir Trail Thru-Hike

Guys, our John Muir Trail trip is coming up so soon! It's one of those things that you plan for so long, that it feels like it's always going to be so far away. BUT, we are less than a month away. Needless to say, we are in crunch mode which means we are in full on planning mode. We have partnered with Sahale Snacks to share with you 5 ways we are getting prepared for living on the trail!

In case you didn't already know, we've been planning to hike the John Muir Trail in California for about 6 months now. The JMT is one of the most beautiful trails in the world which is named after the John Muir who is consider to be the Father of National Parks. Have you ever heard the saying, "The mountains are calling and I must go"? That is a John Muir quote.

The JMT starts at the summit of Mt. Whitney and ends in Yosemite Valley, but we will be hiking it in reverse/Southbound- so starting in Yosemite National Park and ending at Mt. Whitney. The trail is 211 miles long, and we will be hiking about 10 miles per day. This means we will be hiking for about 3 weeks! We will be in the wilderness with few options to get supplies which means preparation is very important for this journey. So let's get to talking about what we've been doing and are working on to be prepared to hike the JMT.

1. Stocking up on delicious snacks. When you are thru-hiking, you have to eat a lot of ordinary freeze dried and dehydrated meals. You do what you gotta do on trail, but it's important to have something more elevated to snack on. You want something to excite your tastebuds and help keep the morale up. Sahale Snacks make these tasty glaze mixes and snack mixes that are thoughtfully sourced and carefully crafted combination of nuts, dried fruits, and exotic spices. I seriously can't wait to try more flavors and take these on our trip! So far we have loved the Sahale Snacks Honey Almond Glazed Mix, the Maple Pecan Glazed Mix, and the Pomegranate Vanilla Glazed Mix. The glazed mixes are this sweet and salty goodness with the perfect crunch- I'm confident that it's going to be a favorite snack on trail.

2. Mailing our food to ourselves. Once we've gathered all of our meals and delicious snacks, we have to mail them to ourselves! Most of the JMT is very remote and we won't be passing any towns or stores along the way. Everything has to be planned out way in advance and shipped to different locations that we will be at along the trail. Some of the locations we will have to hike off trail (sometimes even 15 miles round trip) to get to. Seems a little exhausting, but when you are hiking 211 miles, what are 15 more miles? But really, it is just part of the deal. You hike in the wilderness and have to go a little out of your way to make sure you can eat.

3. Training with our packs on. And hiking. And strength training. We've upped our hiking game since getting our JMT permit, but honestly we could've done more. I hear that people are never really ready- I've even heard this from athletes. But we started hiking with our weighted packs and even completed a 16 mile hike in the Smokies with 25 lbs in our packs. It was pretty hard, but we did it!

4. Planning our route. Okay so yes, the John Muir Trail route is already set. But we have to plan exactly how many miles we will do each day and where we will camp. Those things are not set. We will have to schedule when we pick up our packages and when we will stay in a hotel, and what transportation we will be taking. There are a lot of logistics to figure out about each day. Thank goodness this can actually be one of the last things we do before we leave because there are a lot of things we still have to consider.

5. Finalizing our gear. You'd think by now we would have everything we need, but you'd be wrong. We have most of our main things, but we have a bunch of little things to get and organize. We have to weigh every single thing we are taking with us and make sure that our pack doesn't weigh too much. We are trying to keep our base weight (base weight is how much your pack weighs without the ever changing weight of food and water) low to help keep the hike easier on our bodies.

As you can see there is a lot to do to prepare for a thru hike! We are excited to tackle this challenge and spend so much time in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Thank you to Sahale Snacks for sponsoring this post. And for real, their snack mixes are delicious so definitely give them a try!

5 Fun Things To Do In Chattanooga, TN

Guys, Chattanooga is awesome. Casey and I have both been to Chattanooga, but mostly times when we were just passing through for an evening. So we finally went for a weekend and it was lovely! My mom flew in from Texas and we three had a pretty adventurous 2 days there. Chattanooga is a place I never knew I'd love so much, but we just couldn't stop talking about it when we left. It is a perfect weekend trip from Nashville or Atlanta (and many more places I'm sure), and now we want to tell you why you should spend some time there too!

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We recorded a vlog while we were there of all of our adventures! You can see more details about the places we were in this footage.

First of all, let's talk about this Airbnb. This is where we stayed for our weekend in Chattanooga.

The space was insanely spacious and had a full kitchen, which we love to have when traveling! Plus there was a gas fireplace which was nice in the evenings as is was still a little cooler (as it was Spring.... yes this blog has taken a very long time to write).

If you are interested in using Airbnb for the first time, you can CLICK HERE to get 15% off your first booking!
Okay and onto the things we loved in Chattanooga that you should definitely check out!

1. The Pedestrian Bridge / If you are from Nashville you may think "why would I want to go here?" Because yes we do have one here in Nashville. But this one is different. It's one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world and the view is especially beautiful for sunset. One end is downtown and one is The North Shore, which we will talk about later.

2. Sunset Rock / Okay so I don't think pictures do this place justice... It's a short walk from the parking lot, although you'll want to wear closed toe shoes as it's a very rocky walk down a bunch of stairs.

You drive up for a while, following directions from your phone or GPS....

And then park at the tiny lot across from this cute house. The parking lot only has 7 or 8 spots so that is something to keep in mind! We were lucky and snagged a spot right before sunset. I know there's another way to get to the rock because people were coming off a different trail than we were on, so if the parking lot is full, you have options. I just don't know those exact details! It's silent up there, except for whoever may be up there with you. But it's serene and beautiful at sunset.

3. Foster Falls / Okay this hike is kind of insane at first. I guess it depends on which way you start the loop, but the first part we did went straight down on rocks the whole time until you reach the waterfall. If you go to the waterfall overlook and head to your left, that's the route we took.

But if you aren't into hiking, you can just go to the overlook and see the falls from afar. It is far away... But if you are into doing the hike, it's really cool to see the waterfall up close and then keep walking and see all the rock climbers along the rest of the hike. There were so many of them! And we are not rock climbers, so it was really cool to watch. The hike is rocky the whole way through, so make sure you are prepared!

4. Denny Cove / So you have to hike to see this waterfall, but I think I liked this one more. The hike was harder, by far. Sometimes you don't even understand where the trail is because there are so many fallen rocks. But I don't think we saw a single soul on this trail, so at the end we had the waterfall all to ourselves.

5. The North Shore / Okay I sort of mentioned this earlier, but at one end of the Pedestrian bridge you will find The North Shore. Here, there are a ton of local shops and restaurants in one small area. It's a great place to park and walk around. We went to a lot of the shops (went 2 different times) and drank bubble tea after our walk. It is so interesting what you can learn about a place when you visit it's local shops. Even if you aren't in the market to make purchases, it's still a cool way to see a town!

Though our trip was short, we managed to squeeze in a lot of adventures and good food. It ended too fast, but I know one thing- we need to go back to explore more. These 5 things are just the baseline of things to do in Chattanooga!