Speed Dating a Guy People Call Grundle Troll

Hey Y’all, and thanks for visiting this blog space. This was intended to be my first post but I’m pulling a bit of a Star Wars here and giving the people the story a bit out of order.

This feels a lot like speed dating to me. So much to say, so little time, so few characters. But, hey! I’m Ryan (or Grundle Troll?) and I’m attempting the JMT this year (emphasis on the word attempt).

The Permit

Like many of you, I’ve been applying for JMT permits for years. I thought this year was an absolute wash until a month ago—so much so that I hopped on a trip to the Indian Himalaya because the snow reports in late February made me think that any chance of walking the JMT would be pushed to 6 years from now when I’m finally done with training.

Somewhere near the Mogollon Rim

For more context, in past years I did a lot of research to try and snag a Golden Ticket (Happy Isle to Mount Whitney)—it certainly wasn’t for lack of knowledge that I never received one. I texted a Yosemite Ranger about the permit process (how I met this person is a story in and of itself), I scrolled an unhealthy amount of reddit threads, and I met a man that was awarded a permit in the days of paper applications by having his kid scribble some crayon art in the application. After meeting this fella, I was certain that I was 15 years late and needed a child.

Anyways, I got a NOBO permit, and the moment I received the email was so very poetic. As far as level of happiness and excitement go, I’d put the permit approval email in the same tranche of moments as the time I hit a home run in 7th grade and the day I happy cried over surprise falafel.

It was such a poetic moment too, I was sitting in line at the drive through pharmacy to pick up some insulin syringes for my family’s dog. Before the pharmacist came to the window I saw the notification and got a bit emotional. When the pharmacist came to the window I apologized and told them I just got a JMT permit. As a New Jerseyian with no context, they asked me one more time for a name and birthday.

So maybe my permit isn’t a Golden Ticket in the colloquial sense, but to me it’s feels like I’m entering the chocolate factory through the side door and I’m excited.

A place with some cool rocks

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