I’ve been doing a lot of reading about fastpacking lately. I don’t have all of the gear needed for a fastpacking trip just yet, but I decided to do a longer trail run with some elevation (and gear) to see how it felt to run a longer distance with everything I might need for ~24 hours on my back.

I was able to grab a last-minute campsite in Yosemite National Park this past weekend, and I mapped out a 28 mile loop that’d start and finish near my campsite in the valley.

My run would take me on the Mist…

This year has been chock full of disappointments. Chances are you don’t need to hear this from me.

Most people’s plans for the year were canceled out of necessity, but I was holding out hope that the Death Valley Trail Marathon might still happen in December. Perhaps this was irrational, but the possibility of this race kept me going when times were tough, and I was training accordingly.

I was disappointed, but not surprised when I learned that the event was postponed. This was the second year in a row that the organizers had to push it back.

When the…

Last August, my dad and I rode 270 miles through the Black Hills of South Dakota, along the Mickelson Trail and through Custer and Wind Cave National Parks. It was an amazing trip, and I clearly underestimated South Dakota.

We were hoping for another trip like this one in 2020, but COVID-19 had other plans… so I spent some time going through my photos to document this awesome adventure.

Day 1: Rapid City to Deadwood (50 miles)

We spent our “night zero” in Rapid City, and kicked off the trip bright and early with a 50 mile ride to Deadwood.

I ran my first marathon in Honolulu back in 2013. In retrospect, I had no idea what I was doing.

Diamond Head, Honolulu Marathon 2013

I’ve run quite a few races since then, as well as my first 50k last year. Things that once seemed impossible to me are now just a matter of proper discipline and planning.

These days I’m pretty selective with the races I sign up for. Time is a commodity, and if I’m going to spend 4 months training for a race, the course itself had better be an experience.

Enter the Death Valley Trail Marathon.

This one checks all of…

As I sit on a cross-country flight and reflect on the past year, a major highlight comes to mind immediately. Burning Man was, without question, one of my favorite parts of 2018. Running my first ultramarathon while at Burning Man was a peak life experience within a peak life experience.

Shakey selfie at sunrise, 2018 Burning Man Ultramarathon

I’ve run my share of marathons, but have never pushed past that arbitrary 26.2 number into “ultra” territory.

Hitting the standard running milestones over the years (from 10k to 13.1 to 26.2) has taught me that these measures of course mileage are more or less a formality. …

Note: I decided to write a long-form story about this experience, as it was so impactful for me. Check out the full post about my Burning Man Ultramarathon experience!

The Burning Man 50k was my first ultramarathon, and it was awesome.

I was fairly nervous leading up to the event, as I’ve never run more than 26.2 miles.

Camping with Opulent Temple had me a little concerned about how I’d sleep, as the DJs go all night, and my tent was about 100 feet from the main stage.

We got to the playa on Friday, so by Tuesday my body…

I’ve always been fascinated by the culture surrounding the Grateful Dead. I read “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” in high school, and since then I always romanticized the Merry Pranksters, Ken Kesey, Furthur, and the whole 60s mythology. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall during those wild Prankster parties in La Honda

When I heard that La Honda was opening some trails up to the public (via La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve) I knew that I had to come check it out.

I spent the morning on the Facebook campus yesterday, and it dawned…

Four of my closest friends and I recently spent 4 days and 4 nights in Kings Canyon National Park. We backpacked 41 miles along Rae Lakes Loop, and were absolutely blown away by the breathtaking views around every turn.

This was the best backpacking trip I have ever done. I felt more prepared than ever before, both physically and in regards to gear, and the scenery was stunning the entire way.

Day Zero

I was pretty excited leaving work that afternoon, knowing that my wife and friends were waiting for me back home.

John Vantine

SEO dude. I thrive on live music, marathons, pizza, climbing, good beers, travel, photography, and the great outdoors. https://j0hn.com

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