Aug 27, 2008 at 5:49 pm #1230889
Well I guess I gotta start planning this thing already. I haven't even bought a book yet. So what kind of permits do I need to get soon? And any comments on what dates to start are welcome, I would like to avoid the crowds as much as possible but I know how it is out there. Also I am looking for Ideas on how to do this with as little travel time as possible. Any other advice or comments would be appreciated too.Aug 27, 2008 at 6:00 pm #1448883
Good to see you're back in action.Aug 27, 2008 at 6:25 pm #1448888
Start from Yosemite Valley. Get your permit through them. Transportation is going to be the biggest concern for you. There are buses that will take you down Hwy 395 to Hwy 120 and then you can use the Yarts system that Yosemite has. If you are pressed for time you can shave a day by starting at Tuolumne Valley. Put forth some more questions ie logistics and so forth. Are you going solo by chance??Aug 27, 2008 at 6:30 pm #1448889
Perfect timing. I was thinking of starting this thread. I hope to do the JMT with my girlfriend this year, but haven't done any planning yet. (Just got home from my big '08 trip.)
Time to start. But where?
I know there are some good old threads around here somewhere. Can't find 'em though…
– DaveAug 28, 2008 at 4:10 am #1448928
Not going solo I wlll be hiking with one other person. We are really trying to decide on a start date right now. I don't think I will be pressed for time I should have 10 days of vacation and put that with a couple of weekends. What I dont want to do is wast a bunch of time traveling to and from the TH. What airport would you use?Aug 28, 2008 at 6:27 am #1448941
I'm heading out to the JMT this weekend from the east coast. Flying from Philly to Sacramento and if all goes well, I'll be in Yosemite Valley the same day I fly out. This requires a one way rental car from Sacramento to Merced, a short cab ride, and catching the YARTS bus from Merced to Yosemite (it will also require some luck that nothing is delayed).
I'm going to spend a few days in Yosemite before starting but you could conceivably start hiking the next day if you are short on time. On the way home, I'm going to spend a night in Lone Pine and catch the CREST bust to Ridgecrest, CA where I'll get another one way rental car. I'm going to Vegas from there to fly home but you could also go through LAX.
There are many different travel options to and from the JMT, this one just worked best for me. I would recommend the JMT yahoogroup for answers to specific questions. Was very helpful for JMT specific info.Aug 28, 2008 at 8:14 am #1448952
Check out the Whitney Portal Message Board. Lots of useful info on travel to and from the trailheadSep 3, 2008 at 9:25 am #1449754
Fly to Fresno. Amtrak to Merced. Bus to Mariposa. Spend the night in Mariposa. Catch early morning bus (YARTS) to Yosemite. YARTS = Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System! (yarts.com)
Hitch Whitney Portal to Lone Pine. Stay at the Hostel.(see below) Next morning. Lone Pine to Ridgecrest bus. Inyo Mono Transit or CREST*. Mojave Ridgecrest Express bus (Kern Regional Transit . but note: Mon,, Wed., Friday only. Amtrak from Mojave to Bakersfield Airport, then continue on Amtrak, Bakersfield to Fresno. You can get an Amtrak ticket through the mail.
Reservations for your hike can be made end of Feb, early March.
For a bear canister for your food try the Bearikade at Wild Ideas. They offer a discount rental for thru-hikers and will mail it to you in advance, so you can pack it up in your living room.
Whitney Portal Hostel, Main St., Lone Pine 760-876-0030Sep 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm #1449821
Thanks guys I'm looking at the end of june beginning of july for the hike, thats not too early right?
Frank, I like the amtrak idea the way in sounds very direct but the way out seems like alot of work. Maybe I will rent a car in lone pine. I will be with someone so the cost of rental/gas might be the same as than train fare.Sep 3, 2008 at 6:11 pm #1449850
Jesse, depending on the snow that we get in CA this year it might be tough. Hwy 120 can be closed until 4th of July, Passes could be covered at the tops (especially Forrester and Muir) and some stream crossing could be difficult too. If I were to plan a JMT hike it would be in late August. Dunno what your availability is but late June is dicey. Plus if you did go in August you stay away from Mosquito's and most thunder showersSep 3, 2008 at 9:24 pm #1449881
Shuttles from Lone Pine are available, but costly for one person ($100+). Do not know about one-way car rentals. Amtrak tickets, Mojave to Fresno, c. $25.Sep 4, 2008 at 9:10 am #1449948
Mid august is not possible My friend needs to be back for school before labor day. What about later in july like the 3rd and 4th week? are the bugs better or worse than 2 weeks earlier?Sep 4, 2008 at 1:54 pm #1450008
can be at times. That also depends upon the snowmelt. I would shoot for late July. Keep an eye on the snowdepth charts for California. I don't know the link but there is one. By late July you probably would be walking on some snow on the high passes. Bring along an ice axe??? Dunno if that is needed or not.Sep 4, 2008 at 2:42 pm #1450022
Jesse, for travel to Yosemite don't rule out Sacramento. My wife and I flew in there last year because it was the cheapest flight to the area we could find…considerably less than Fresno, San Fran, etc.
In checking Amtrak's schedules I see that the train runs straight south out of Sacramento to Merced where you can catch the YARTS bus. We had to take a bus part-way for some reason. If I remember correct, travel time from Sacramento to Merced was somewhere around 3-4 hours total, including wait times for the train and bus. IT would be less if you can train it straight to Merced.
We flew out late in the evening, crashed at the airport in Sacramento until it was time to head to the bus station. We were in Yosemite by early afternoon.
If you guys are motivated, you can probably hit the JMT and easily make it to Little Yosemite Valley campsite by nightfall, possibly all the way to Sunrise High Sierra Camp, which is only about 10 miles or so from Tuolumne Meadows. If you're trying to push mileage hiking the first day, you might consider shipping the bulk of your food to Tuolumne Meadows so you only have to carry a day's worth out of Yosemite Valley.Sep 4, 2008 at 3:31 pm #1450034
I will probably end up going in early july/late june. If a couple of weeks doesn't make that much of a difference. I doubt I'll carry an ice axe though. What is the earliest anyone has hiked the JMT?Sep 4, 2008 at 5:58 pm #1450054
again, it all depends on the snowfall in the Sierra's. We have had early melts due to low snowfall so a June start is acceptable. I would wait until May to get a better idea as to the melt. Yosemite has a page that is devoted to backcountry travel and you can get an idea of how the snow is melting.Sep 5, 2008 at 8:56 am #1450110
I did the JMT Aug 10-24. It was perfect timing- perfect weather, few mosquitos, no mud, dry shoes, plenty of drinking water. Some days I saw lots of people, others I saw only 3 or 4. For the best weather, trail, and mosquito conditions I suggest going as late as possible within your time constraints (but still leave a few days to rest up before the friends have to start school).
Logistics seem harder than they are. I took Amtrak bus/train/bus from LA to Yosemite. After the trip I hitched a ride in Lone Pine from Whitney hikers to LAX. The bus dropped me in Yosemite at 8:00 PM and I made my way to the backpacker's campground behind North Pines car camp campground. I woke up early, got in line at the wilderness permit office and was on the trail at 9:00 AM.
For food resupply I started with 2 days food, mailed a resupply to the Tuolumne post office for the next 6 days, and mailed a 5 gallon bucket to Muir Trail Ranch for the final 7 days. I used a Garcia bear can with an O.P.Sack for the overflow. I strongly suggest renting the Bearikade Expedition so you can actually fit all food and toiletries inside. I took too much food- about 3500 calories per day. Next time I would plan 2500 calories the first week and 3000 the second. I'd also mail some stuff to Red's Meadow or just shop in the store there to cut down weight carried.
15 days was a good number- challenging but doable. I started out fairly easy with 8 days for the first half and was in great shape for the harder second (south) half. I started without hiking poles but was very glad when someone loaned me a pair at Muir Trail Ranch for the south half. My only physical complaints were sore feet early on and tightness in my achilles tendons. All of my training was walking 5 miles a day on city streets so 12-20 miles per day on rocky trails beat my feet up a bit at first.
If I really wanted to push it I think 11 days would be the absolute minimum for this 43 year old to do the trail. I would need to do a lot of training though. Taking it very easy I could see stretching to three weeks, but still doing the south half on one food resupply so no more than 10 days.Sep 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm #1450159
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I did the JMT in 2006 starting Aug.1-16. 2 zero days at Vermilion Resort, Lake Thomas Edison. 2006 was a good snow year and most of the snow was gone by Aug. 1st. BEWARE!!!! the mighty mosquito. GOODLUCK!!! ENJOY A HIKE OF A LIFETIME.Sep 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm #1450163
I think we will try and go as early as we can. I have come to terms with the fact that we will be postholing some and crossing some pretty serious water. The mosquitos don't scare me that much I don't swell or itch from the bites, I think I built up an immunity as a kid in south GA. Plus if everyone else is leaving between august 1st and august 15th that might be reason enough for me to leave early.Sep 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm #1450246
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
I have friends that have had to wade through waist deep NEW snow at the beginning of June. They had to walk out early. Some years it's not a problem. Some years it is. The passes are all at a considerable elevation. That's why so many people do it from July to the middle of Sept.Sep 7, 2008 at 4:40 am #1450293
Adding to Russell's post: Flights from the east coast to Oakland are less than to San Fran, but I could not find a flight that allowed for a convenient link to Amtrak without losing a day. It is more expensive to fly to Fresno or Bakersfield. I did not check flights to LA. (10 days of food for one fit into the Expedition Bearikade, c. $60 to rent) I am no cook, but thanks to recipes found in the forums, making granola, and oatmeal cookies is not difficult. Dinners were soup and one person meals from Packlite foods, but try them first. Some don't like!Sep 7, 2008 at 6:01 am #1450298
Well it looks like fresno is going to be the best. I can fly there for $400 I could save possibly 80 bucks if i fly somewhere else but I don't think its worth it. The guy I will be hiking with lives in cleveland and flights out of there are considerable amount more than they are from Atlanta.Sep 7, 2008 at 10:17 am #1450316
@strong806Locale: Near the AT
Count me in for an August '09 start.
Which guidebook would you all recommend?Sep 7, 2008 at 7:51 pm #1450391
John Muir Trail by Elizabeth Wenk with Kathy Morey (Wilderness Press) (2007) divides the trail into 13 sections including mileage between campsites with elevations and GPS coordinates and the segment maps in profile. It has a cumulative mileage table as well as trail descriptions and pages of maps of the entire trail. It took awhile, but I programed campsites where I thought I would camp into my GPS. The guide includes descriptions of side hikes to surrounding peaks, too. It is a thorough and useful guide book.
(There is also a book on Fly Fishing along the JMT is you are interested in catching dinner, or read up some fishing hints in an article at thru-hiker.com. specifically about fishing along the JMT)Sep 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm #1450524
OK I'm just throwing this out there how about instead of spending 2 days trying to get from Lone Pine to Fresno Just hike across sequoia NP and catch the shuttle to Visalia and from there get on amtrak 2 hours from Fresno. What do you think? Any route Ideas?
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