j_helmkamp j_helmkamp

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Justin "2Taps" Helmkamp  A hiker with a camera, ramblin' around, doin' stuff. Tryin' out this UL thing and whatnot. AT 16 | PCT 17 📷 on Sony a5000


If you are looking for awesome hikers walking around awesome places, check out @cotezi. This lady has been killing it on the PCT and has been a great hiking partner. Also, her insta-stories are on point!

Not all sunrises are equal.

Exactly one year ago today I stopped going northbound on the Appalachian Trail. I thought I might have to quit because it was just too hard. Being hard or easy is all up to perspective. Trails are hard, but also easy. Reflecting on my life for the past year while walking today made me think about how different my life would be if I hadn't gone back to the AT and embraced the difficulties that come with trail life. I wouldn't have had the amazing experiences that I have had, and I certainly wouldn't be at the halfway point on the PCT.
Thanks to all who have helped and supported me on this crazy trail in this crazy year. Your support has helped me through my hardest moments on trail. Feels good to finally be closer to Canada than Mexico.

Good morning trail. Nice to see you have sent us clouds today. Been about a month or so since seeing one. Much appreciated.
📷 PC: @cotezi

Why we hike is personal to each individual. Catching the evening sun atop a ridge is usually on most people's list. The best moments for contemplation, thought, or even just pure immersion in the here and now come easier.

While the mountains have mellowed out a lot, that doesnt mean the climbs have. The days seem to be marked by lots of ups and downs, nearly 15,000 feet of change just yesterday. Taking a break at the top and munching is always a good step in the climbing recovery process.

NorCal sunlight through the pines. The perfect way to start each morning on trail.

Some days are harder than others. And then there's some days that start out hard, but somehow manage to become great. Started the day with the first ten miles of having pretty bad stomach issues. However, after taking a few breaks and making it to the top of the ridgewalk for the day, I couldn't help but smile for the long way down and take way too many pictures. Life is good, even if it doesn't appear to be all the time.
📷 PC: @cotezi

In the last few days the air has been quite smoky from distant wildfires. While the views during the day have been hazy, the sunset each night have been quite incredible. We even decided to cut the day a few miles short to watch the sun go down, the first time I'd sat and watched the sunset in weeks.

Ridgewalking for days on the way down to my Dad's favorite place on trail Donner Pass. I think he finds it historically ironic that hikers with hiker hunger go through the pass on the way north.

Been trying out a new add on to my pack the last couple of days. I was getting tired of digging into my front pack pocket all the way to the bottom to grab my filter every time I wanted a drink. The great people at @superior.wilderness.designs are always happy to help with making life easier and I must say I have been loving this upper side pocket. Totally worth the weight!
📷 PC: @cotezi

Looking North from Dick's Pass, the mountains seemed to shrink to hills beneath the height of the last pass above 9,000 feet. We have been looking forward to these smaller mountains for a while now, where the miles will hopefully come easier on the way to Oregon.

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