Recently, I’ve been getting the question of “what are you doing this summer??” more and more often. As an engineering student, I’m sure the anticipated response is the name of some company or an explanation of an amazing internship that I’ll be assigned to.
The Answer??. . .
Chapter 1: Hayduke (early May)
Beginning in early May, I will be hiking two sections of the Hayduke Trail through Utah and Arizona. The “trail” is more of a navigational route, twisting and turning through canyons and washes in Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Parks.
Because of time constraints, and with the intent of maximizing the “bang for my buck,” I’ve picked two sections in particular:
(1) Arches, National Park to Hite, UT
This section will take me through Arches and Canyonlands National Park, as well as Dark Canyon, a spectacular beginning to the Hayduke Trail. I’ve chosen this section for two main reasons:
- I have a friend who is willing to drive me from Denver, CO to the start of the trail in Arches NP. That’s a big one.
- Andrew Skurka, an accomplished Hayduke hiker himself, insisted that Dark Canyon was one of the most spectacular sections of the route. How could I disagree?
(2) Grand Canyon, AZ
I’ve gotten lucky in that my same friend who is driving me from Denver, CO to Arches, UT is also willing to drive me from Hite, UT to Jacob Lake, AZ, where I’ll start my second section: The Grand Canyon. He will be climbing crags in the area, and offered to meet up with me again, both as a resupply and as a transport. What an amazing friend!
I think you can understand why I’ve chosen the Grand Canyon as this second section, but I’ll explain anyway:
- Given that I will be going in early May, it’s one of the better seasons to see the Grand Canyon, so I’d like to take advantage of my timing.
- I’ve never been to the grandest canyon in America. Enough said.
- A group of friends of mine have also volunteered to meet me at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at the end of my hike, making logistics simple. I love simple. We’ll then road trip back to Atlanta over the next few days before one of them starts summer classes.
Chapter 2: Return to Ecuador (late May – early June)
I was lucky enough to visit Ecuador this past December, climbing Cotopaxi and other volcanoes along the way. I got hooked, and now I’m even luckier to have the chance to go back AGAIN!
I will be bringing a friend down with me, meeting up with some friends I made last time as well, on a non-stop mountaineering adventure! The volcanoes on our list:
- Chimborazo (20,564′)
- Cayambe (18,996′)
- Carihuairazo (16,463′)
- Ruminahui (15,489′)
- Imbabura (15,190′)
- Cerro Puntas (14,606′)
- Integrales Pichincha (15,715′)
- Cotocachi (16,220′)
In my opinion, Ecuador is an amazing mountaineering training ground, with so many volcanoes close to one another. The high elevation adds some difficulty with acclimatization, yet once you’ve acclimatized the nature of Ecuador’s volcanoes is amazing: short, overnight climbs that will test and develop your mountaineering skills. Sounds good to me!
Chapter 3: Cascades (early June – early July)
My friend (who will be in Ecuador with me) and I will then fly up to Portland, OR, where we will meet up with another one of our buddies (that same one who is driving me across the country!) to begin a near one-month stint in the Cascades. On our list is:
- Mt. Hood
- Mt. Adams
- Mt. Rainier
- Mt. Baker
- Mt. Shuksan
- Glacier Peak
- Ptarmigan Traverse
Similar to Ecuador, the Cascades is a breeding ground for mountaineers, a perfect place to hone my skills for future climbs. In between climbs we will be staying with my friend’s family, as well as other friends we have in the area. The trickiest part? We don’t have a car, so we’ll be relying on finding partners with transportation. Are YOU in Seattle and interested in joining?
Chapter 4: Tech Treks Alaska (July)
Every year, Georgia Tech’s Outdoor Recreation Program offers a life-changing experience to incoming freshman called Tech Treks. For the past 3 years, I have been fortunate enough to be a part of Tech Treks Alaska, first as a participant in the program, twice later as a leader. I am honored that for the 4th time I will again be a part of this amazing experience, leading a group of soon-to-be college students through the amazing Alaskan wilderness, as they prepare for their next chapter.
Chapter 5: Home (late July)
Yes, I DO have a family, and yes, I do LOVE THEM with all my heart and soul. After leading Tech Treks Alaska I will be going back home to Miami, FL for a week to spend time with the people who always love and support me.
Chapter 6: Sierra High Route (August)
When I hiked the John Muir Trail two years ago, I fell in love with the Sierra Nevada, the sheer granite and towering spires imprinting an amazing memory in my mind.
Ever since I hiked the John Muir Trail, I’ve had my eye on the Sierra High Route, a rugged, off-trail cousin of the JMT that tours much of the prime Sierra backcountry. I’m excited that this summer I will be attempting the route with a friend of mine who is also an accomplished thru-hiker himself, having completed the Long Trail at the age of 16! We’ll be meeting a friend in San Francisco beforehand, driving up to Yosemite to hike Cloud’s Rest, and then starting out from Mono Village heading south.
We’ve decided to tack on a few extra miles at the end to see Mt. Williamson and Mt. Whitney, two massive California 14ers, because why not??
After finishing in Lone Pine, CA, we’ll be flying back to Atlanta, days away from the start of school.
I’m excited to announce these adventures with you! I can’t wait. If you’re interested in joining, partnering, or sponsoring any of them, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep on climbing!