In 2015, I went on my first long-distance backpacking trip. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was unprepared on just about every level. I had the wrong gear, my backpack was too heavy, I was not in shape, I was overweight, and I was unprepared for the physical demands this hike would place on me.
It is not an understatement to say this trip was life altering for me. It was a wakeup call to my fitness ability, my health, and my enjoyment of life. This trip taught me that I can do hard things. It taught me that age is just a number. Just about everybody I hiked with on this trip was older than me. They all out-hiked me. Up to this point in my life, this was the hardest thing physically I had ever done.
This trip was a pivotal moment for me. After this trip I changed my lifestyle, I lost weight, I started to exercise regularly, and I invested in better/lighter gear. I learned that despite the demands of being a father and working professional, I can still go on big adventures and invest in my health.
Of course I hiked the 80 miles with my DSLR, specifically I had the Nikon D700 at the time. I took two lenses, a 50mm f/1.8 and a 24mm f/1.4. This is my photo story. I also made a 5 minute video of the trip, catch that at the end of this story.
Our first day, we made it about 15 miles (24.14 km). That was not as far as our group had hoped. At this point, I felt exhausted, but still enthusiastic. It started to rain as we were setting up our tents for the night, and it rained all night. I slept great because I was so tired. I slept for 12 hours. The rain forced us into our tents at 7:00 pm, and we crawled out of our tents at 7:00 am the next morning.
The second day of this trip took us through some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever experienced. Our route took us past Peak Lake and then up and over the highest pass on the route, Knapsack Cole, at 12,238 feet (3,730.14 m). We descended Knapsack Cole into the Titcomb Basin, past glaciers. The Titcomb Basin was my favorite section from a photo perspective. I long to go back and spend more time with my camera.