Seventeen-year-old Alex Greer had only been backpacking three times before he attempted to hike the John Muir Trail this past summer.

Alex Greer has already set his sights on his next conquest: An 80-mile ring around Mount Rainier in Washington.

Alex Greer has already set his sights on his next conquest: An 80-mile ring around Mount Rainier in Washington. (Garrett Geyer / Noozhawk photo)

The 215-mile trail runs between Yosemite National Park and 14,496-foot Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. Backpackers talk about the trail as a huge challenge, so Greer said he decided he would “just go for it.”

The Laguna Blanca School senior received a permit and then mapped out the campsites at which he would stay each night. Equipped with a one-man tent, a mini stove and pot, a sleeping bag and mat, crampons to help walk in snow and poles to cross rivers, Greer was ready to go.

Initially, he decided he would hike about 14 miles a day. The first day, however, he became lost and hiked nearly 26.

“I was in Yosemite still and you would think there would be really good (path markers), but the trail was surprisingly poorly marked,” Greer said.

“I’m not the best re-finder (of the trail) so I got lost a lot,” he added.

Greer’s family joined him at the beginning of his trek, and after they left he occasionally hiked with other backpackers.

“A couple campsites I was alone,” Greer said.

Some backpackers were very nice, offering him food and companionship along the trail. One day, Greer met a man he hiked with for some time.

“He wanted to go over a pass with me,” Greer said.

Before they reached the crest, however, Greer noticed the man was drinking from the river and he kept yelling and cursing at animals on the trail.

“I told him I would meet up with him on the other side of the pass, but I never did,” Greer said.

Before beginning the hike, Greer sent food to each campsite to avoid carrying it with him.

“(Next time) I would bring more food,” Greer said.

Breakfast was oatmeal and powerbars, lunch was crackers and trail mix.

“I had freeze-dried food for dinner, which gets old pretty fast,” Greer said.

At the end of the hike, Greer said he had lost a lot of weight.

“When I finished, I went straight to McDonald’s,” he laughed.

After his 16-day adventure, Greer said he felt a sense of accomplishment.

“I would definitely do it again,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

While Greer isn’t planning any hikes soon, he said he’s thinking about taking an 80-mile hike around Mount Rainier in Washington next summer.

Noozhawk intern Alexa Shapiro can be reached at ashapiro@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.