Hello all! We know it has been a while since our last post, and we apologize for the long period of silence. It’s been a very busy school year for us, and we’ve had to put this here blog on the back burner for a while. We know that’s a totally lame excuse, but we have been diligently working on some posts from our trip to Peru last summer. We promise to start publishing those posts soon, but, before we do, we have some very exciting news to share with anyone who is still out there. So here goes…
We’ve Been Published!
This past March, we became published authors. We wrote a guidebook about our experience on the Wonderland Trail! It was released by Sandiburg Press, an independent boutique publisher, as part of their Plan & Go series of guidebooks. Sandiburg is a new kid on the excursion guide block, but they already have several cool titles in this series of hiking adventures, including the John Muir Trail, England’s Coast to Coast Walk, and the Lone Star Hiking Trail in Texas.
The guides are written to give hikers like you and me a comprehensive resource for every aspect of planning a big backpacking adventure, including applying for permits, planning a route, caching food, trail descriptions, can’t miss highlights and anything else you might need to know to make your dream trip a reality.
We are incredibly proud of our guide book on the Wonderland Trail and know that anyone planning to hike this iconic trail will find it incredibly useful. Get your copy today!
It’s a Wonderland Trail Permit Free-for-All!
We have a super fun summer of epic backpacking planned for this year, including backpacking from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite on the John Muir Trail. This will be our longest and most challenging backpacking trip to date, and we are really looking forward to it. Please wish us luck!
As long as we are out on the west coast, we thought we would top that off with a return to Mount Rainier to backpack the Northern Loop, a 15.5 mile trail leaving from the Sunrise Visitor Center that can be combined with the northern section of the Wonderland Trail and the Spray Park alternate to create a 48-mile figure 8-shaped loop. We heard the scenery along the trail is spectacular, and it will give us a chance to return to our beloved Mount Rainier, hike the Ipsut Pass Trail that we bypassed by going through Spray Park in 2014 and retrace some of our favorite parts of the Wonderland Trail, only this time heading in the opposite direction. Sounds like a pretty cool plan, right?
Well, we did our homework, diligently filled out our permit application with multiple itineraries and starting dates to increase our chances of landing a permit and planned to fax it off smack dab in the middle of the permit lottery window, which is from March 15-31. Just before sending it off, we decided to check the website to make sure we had the correct fax number and discovered some pretty shocking news.
Apparently, the park experienced some kind of catastrophic power failure to their reservation system at the beginning of the reservation window and determined it impossible to fix. So, instead of issuing advance permits, they have decided to make all backcountry permits available on a first-come, first-serve basis for the summer of 2016. They hope to have a new permit system in place for 2017, but that’s a day late and a dollar short for this year. Check out the park’s official press release for yourself.
Total game changer!
How come? Well, in the past, two-thirds of all backcountry sites were reserved in advance, while one-third was left for people to reserve in person at the park. We were lucky enough to score one of those walk-up permits in 2014, but we were really hoping we didn’t have to leave this year’s trip up to chance again.
Now none of the camps can be reserved in advance, and everyone will be in the same boat, hoping to secure a coveted backcountry permit after arriving in the park. We called the Wilderness Information Center a few weeks ago and asked what they predicted would happen. Would this make it more difficult to get a permit? Or would it keep Type-A planners not wanting to take a chance on their vacation plans not working out far away from the chaos?
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. But, it does mean that if you were bemoaning the fact that you didn’t get your permit application in on time, you are on a level playing field with everyone else, and doing the Wonderland Trail this year is still a real possibility. Yahoo! Be sure to check out our helpful guide to planning your Wonderland adventure, and, if you really decide to give it a go, our Plan & Go guidebook will tell you everything you need to know to have a great experience in this magnificent park.
We plan to call the park once we finish the John Muir Trail and see what is happening in the park before we race up there from California. If all goes well, we’ll be experiencing more of Mount Rainier’s unbelievable backcountry trails. Maybe you will, too. We hope to see you out there!