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By the time you read this, I will have just returned from my first backpacking trip of the year 🎉 My backpacking bestie and I are taking on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, a 30-mile, three day, two night adventure that will take us from Lake Del Valle in Livermore, CA to Mission Peak in Fremont, CA. 

This trail is not for the faint of heart - we’ll be climbing 4500’ over 10.5 miles on Day 1, descending 3400’ and ascending 2600’ over 13.8 miles on Day 2, and then making our final 2200’ over 3.6 miles on Day 3. We’ve spent the last three months training, and I wanted to share a bit about that process in case anyone else might be interested in tackling something similar one day!

A bit of background

As many of you know, I did not grow up as an outdoorsy person. In fact, I didn’t really get into camping until the pandemic, and went on my first-ever backpacking trip in June 2022. I went on my second backpacking trip in August 2022, and this trip is backpacking adventure number three!

The motivation for this trip came from a rather unlikely place - I was at my husband’s holiday party in December 2023, and his boss and I got to talking about Alpine Parrot and how important it is to have outdoor apparel. He mentioned that when he first moved to the area, he wanted to hike the Ohlone Trail, but never had the guts… which of course meant I had to look into it!

I don’t know that I’ll ever be interested in doing one of the great long trails, but I’ve definitely thought about doing a shorter trail like the Tahoe Rim Trail, as long as I could find a friend who might be interested in joining me! Since the Ohlone Wilderness Trail is about a third as long as the TRT, I figured it would be a nice warmup. Fortunately my hiking buddy Kristine was open to giving the OWT a go, and so our planning began!

Preparation

It’s important to point out that neither of us really looked into the trail before saying yes to the adventure. What we did do, however, was look into the trail immediately after saying yes! We did our homework, reading trip reports, understanding the permit requirements, and making the appropriate reservations for campsites.

Once we understood the magnitude of the upcoming journey, we put together our training regimen. I had previously used a template from Summit Strength to train for my first backpacking trip, but I didn’t stick to it very well. Having an accountability buddy meant that I was able to try the template again, but with much better results! We set a schedule of meeting for a hike every week, and doing the other exercises on our own (but with lots of text messages and phone calls when we needed some motivation). Each week, we worked our way up from hiking 5 miles a day with gradually increasing pack weights, to 8 miles and then 10 miles. 

Before we started, our regular hikes would be 3-5 miles, and we felt pretty good about them. By our second to last week of training (the last week was an “easy” week), we were tackling 10 miles of advanced terrain with 30+ lbs of weight on our backs! 💪🏽

We built up our stamina and our endurance, and I’m so excited about what we’re about to do.

The best part, of course, is the gear

Throughout our preparation, we spent each training hike talking about gear and our food plans. It’s so important to be properly fueled for such a strenuous hike, and it’s equally important to have adequate gear for the conditions!

We did our research on packs, tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. We found the ones that work best for our bodies without totally breaking the bank. We compared notes on water filters and discussed whether we should bring a bear canister (the answer: yes, even though there won’t be any bears on or near the trail). 

And because we spent so much time on similar trails to the OWT, we were able to really identify the best apparel for the job. OF COURSE we’re wearing Alpine Parrot, not because it’s what brought us together in the first place, but because it really is the best gear for this activity. We’re both wearing Ponderosa Pants and Arroyo Sun Hoodies. And I may or may not be bringing other yet-to-be-announced gear that is SO fantastic. We’re ready for whatever weather we encounter!

Stay tuned

Since I’m writing this before I’ve left, I’ll be sure to share a recap next week! Until then, is there anything specific you’d like to read more about? Would a specific gear list be helpful? Want more information on our training regimen? Send me an email and let me know!