My name is Jupiter, 31 years old born and raised in south Florida, travel chosen to be experienced by foot. Over the past few years I have hiked more than 14,000 miles on long distance trails across the US, and am looking forward to a lot more in the future!
In 2012 I attempted a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, making it about 400 miles until I was forced to quit. My inexperience and general lack of backpacking knowledge had me carrying a very beastly 60 pound backpack thinking I was prepared, in reality simply causing a lot of pain in my feet and ankles. Coming home I forgot about backpacking for a little while, moved, and eventually came back to it after going down some very negative paths. I remembered having the time of my life up in those east coast Appalachian mountains, I packed my things, and started going out into the woods again near where I lived. Frankly I needed a hobby, and a place to go rebuild myself after a rough couple years. What was just an innocent thing turned into an obsession. Given the reason for failing my first thru hike a big topic of thought and exploration for every new trip was how I could lighten my pack, and walk more freely on the land. I soon found myself backpacking twice a week every week. Going camping nearly every day I had off, and much to my managers dismay, taking an extreme amount of vacations. I racked up roughly 2,000 miles of small sections locally as well as further north on the AT. Pushing myself further and harder with each hike, going through a great period of learning and self growth. I found myself wondering what to do with this new found joy. Bringing us to 2016 and my 4,800 mile Eastern Continental Trail thru hike.
As a Floridian I wanted to hike the Florida Trail, and I still felt I had unfinished business on the Appalachian Trail, so I decided to do both of those in a single year. Quitting a job I really enjoyed to do just one didn’t feel like much of a reason at the time. A friend joked that I, “should just connect the two.” I laughed, he laughed, I went home, and that joke haunted me. So I did, tacking on the 200 miles south to finish in the Keys, and roughly 800 miles north to start way up in Quebec, while still connecting the two trails I originally wanted to walk with a large section of smaller trails and roads in between. In this process I brought one home for the team, and even set a self supported speed record on my home states trail, averaging 39 miles a day for 28 days straight, in a fury of madness down the center of Florida.
Beyond that in 2017 I met a girl, hiked with her from New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail up to Quebec on the International Appalachian Trail for about 500 miles. Later that summer after spending a months time in Montreal I flew to the west coast, and got my first taste of the Pacific Crest Trail. Hiking with friends, though heart broken over the girl, I solidified my feelings that it was time for another really big hike. The dream and obsession began again.
In 2018 I set out to yoyo the Pacific Crest Trail, and though I wasn’t successful I did get to experience 1,000 beautiful miles out west, and sure learned a lot! I actually broke my foot in two places just 200 miles in after simply tripping on a rock, and continued for the next 800 miles with that injury. I hadn’t known at the time my foot was broken as there was no swelling, discoloration, and some days were extremely painful, other days it didn’t feel much different.
After taking a lot of time sitting down and walking with crutches after finding out what had happened I got a job as a painting instructor, teaching classes of students for 2-3 hours at a time how to paint with acrylics. All the while saving up money for my next trips.
2019 rolls around, my feet are feeling great, I hiked the Ocean to Lake Trail a few more times, and soon embarked on a thru hike of the Sheltowee Trace Trail. A 320 mile route across the state of Kentucky. Still to this day one of my favorite hikes I have done. Later that year I joined some friends on the Pacific Northwest Trail to do a 600 mile section across the state of Washington. Shortly after finishing getting a ride to Utah to hike the 100 mile Uinta Highline Trail. It was a year of very different environments. From Florida Trails, to lush Kentucky with its towering rock walls, the rugged off trail terrain in the Pacific Northwest, to the near desert environment in Utah hiking above 10,000 feet.
The following year brought many challenges across the world, and I don’t think anyone would say 2020 was an easy year for them. Fortunately prior to the pandemic making its way to the United states I was able to sneak in a second thru hike of the 1,100 mile Florida Trail hike before moving out west to Arizona. This hike across Florida was a little different as I wasn’t setting a speed record, but also I was hiking with a partner. My first truly long hike with a partner was a great one, and once again I learned a lot.
In 2021 I was able to hike the 800 mile Arizona Trail, the 170 mile Tahoe Rim Trail, and the northern section of the Vermont Long Trail from Canada to where it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. It was a great year and I was able to accomplish a lot of what I had put off doing the year prior. The Arizona Trail I was able to hike in 29 days averaging more than 27 miles per day through the harsh desert. A trail experience I absolutely loved, and would recommend the AZT to anyone who is even sort of interested. The Tahoe Rim Trail was a fun time circumnavigating one of the largest lakes in the United States through the high mountains surrounding it. A good experience to have for anyone thinking about attempting the PCT given they are so similar. Later in the year the Long Trail was a nice return to the east coast, getting to see fall colors in Vermont.
In 2022 I came back to the Pacific Crest Trail (after a failed attempt in 2018) to try again, this time around I was successful and completed the 2,650 mile hike in 84 days! Averaging more than an ultramarathon a day, traveling light, and having a very good time. I did this trail how I always dreamed of doing it, and am now one step closer to my triple crown.
In 2023 I wanted to step up the difficulty, so I chose to hike the Grand Enchantment Trail, Great Divide Trail, and the Superior Hiking Trail. An effort to learn and grow as a hiker, these trails and route challenged me and expanded my horizons beyond what is normally expected on a long trail. The navigational difficulties of the GET, the remoteness, and loneliness. The stress of grizzlies on the GDT, the dangerous river fords, long food carries, and extensive permits. I had to really plan and prepare in a way that wasn’t just for my own fun. To top it off the SHT was a cool down in a way, a much simpler hike with great access, cell service, privies, and frequent towns. It was quite the change going from the other two to that!
I don’t yet know what 2024 holds, but maybe I’ll finally go for my triple crown, and hike the Continental Divide Trail.
If you wish to contact me, feel free to come through my email
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