Due to being busy at work I trained for this trip with 3 three miles hikes, not ideal for a 46 mile hike to 12,000 ft. I was going to do it solo but a marathoner backpacking friend joined me. My base weight was 6 lbs, his was 40 lbs. After a parking lot discussion of him taking some of my extra gear I knew his inexperience was going to not listen to my experience, so I watched him load up an extra camelback backpack, binoculars, a 0 degree sleeping bag, sandals, cotton clothing, and a plethora of heavy gear. He did borrow a zpacks hexanet and used my cuben tarp as our tent.
Day 1- roads end to junction meadow ~11 miles. We ran in to some mosquitos luckily we brought headnets and deet.
Day 2- junction meadow to Rae Lakes ~10 miles. The climb was tough; we were drinking lots of water and running into lots of JMT hikers that seemed that they were on a mission to get a resupply at onion valley. This is where we started to see lots of hikers with massive sized packs.
Day 3- Rae Lakes to Roads End ~25 miles. We started at 9am and ran into lots of JMT'ers and counterclockwise Rae Lakes loop hikers that were carrying huge packs. We were supposed to camp at upper paradise valley but the mosquito’s and the fact that we only had 9 miles to the car kept us trekking.
Post hike thoughts: The Rangers and about 15 hikers were so amazed and asked me "that's a nice small pack, what kind is it? Where did you get it” My answer of course was that I made it which made them even more amazed. There was one hiker that knew I got the material from zpacks and he said my pack was "badass". I am thankful that I have learned what I know thanks to backpacking light and I have come a long way. The big three I have made myself and they are the lightest I know of (pack/quilt/tarp/bivy) all weigh 27 oz total. Thanks to all that has inspired me, it has made my hikes more enjoyable and fast and light.