Speed Dating a Guy People Call “Grundle Troll”?

Well, hello there Reader! Thanks for peeping over the hedges and looking into what’s going on in this blog space!

This first post feels like speed dating to me; not a lot of characters and very little time to offer a view into my world. So here goes nothing, or something?

My name is Ryan, some call me GT, even fewer call me GrundleTroll, and I’m 3 weeks away from attempting the John Muir Trail—emphasis on the word “attempt”.

I first heard about the JMT when it was showcased in an edition of “Boy’s Life” magazine (yes, I’m an Eagle Scout). I can thank YouTube’s algorithm for keeping the thought of a JMT thru hike somewhere close to fully conscious thought ever since.

The Permit

For those of you that don’t know, permits in the Sierras are very… (cue David Attenboro voice)… elusive. I first applied for wilderness permits along the JMT corridor in 2019 and have been ghosted every year until now—it was feeling like I was swiping right and the trail saw my profile and kept on opting for left, and it wasn’t for lack of knowledge. I texted a Yosemite Ranger about the process (how and where I met this person is a story in and of itself) scrolled through more than one Reddit thread about the Happy Isles to Whitney Golden Ticket, and even talked with a man who was awarded a JMT permit in the times of paper applications because he had his kid make crayon art on his paperwork. Needless to say, I was stoked when I got a NOBO permit for mid-August.

The day the permit was approved was a very happy day for GT—I’d put it up there with the night I, the nerdy-tall-awkward-kid, hit a homerun under the lights in the 7th grade, or the time I cried while eating surprise falafel. It was so poetic too. I was in my good ‘ol rusty Dodge Grand Caravan, waiting for the pharmacist to help me at the drive-thru when I saw the news. By the time the pharmacist opened the window, I was washed up in emotions, so I apologized, “I’m sorry I’m a mess right now. I just got a JMT, permit.” The pharmacist, a New Jerseyan with no clue of what I was talking about, looked me in the eyes and asked one more time for my name and birthday.

So, I got one; it’s not quite a golden ticket in the colloquial sense, but in my eyes it’s got substantial luster.

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