Jul 10, 2012 at 2:26 am #1291837
So as you can all tell, my JMT trip is coming up. I am allowing 3.5 weeks for my total time on the mainland, but I think I will finish the JMT in much less time and depending on the ease of getting through the ground logistic hoops and getting a permit quickly, I could have an extra 7-10 days before I need to get back to Mammoth to fly out.
So, with that in mind, can anybody recommend another trail in the area to do with my extra time. For example, follow PCT north from Yosemite, try and do all or part of the Tahoe Rim Trail, etc.
Mahalo for any suggestions or advice.
SusanJul 26, 2012 at 1:56 am #1897644
Class? Buehler? Anyone?Jul 26, 2012 at 9:08 am #1897693
I couldn't see in your post whether you are southbound (like most JMT hikers) or northbound. Your remark about following the PCT from Yosemite seems to indicate you might be northbound.
Just in case you are southbound and finish at Whitney Portal you might want to consider returning to Mammoth Lakes on the Sierra High Route. You would need a short hitch from Whitney Portal to Onion Valley and then you can hike 20 miles over Kearsage Pass to Road's End, the southern terminus of the SHR. From there it is roughly 115 miles to Mammoth Lakes or a little less to Red's Meadow from where you can take a shuttle. The Sierra High Route is not a trail, so it is essential that you feel comfortable with map and compass. It runs more or less parallel to the JMT but stays above treeline and gives you a completely different experience of the High Sierra compared to hiking on the trail in the valleys. You should also feel comfortable with light rock scrambling across talus fields when going over trailless passes. If that works for you and you have indeed 10 days left you are in for a great experience.
My wife and I will leave with two of our daughters from Yosemite next Saturday and plan for 16+ days to Whitney. Last year we took 19 days in a heavy snow year. So depending on your start date and direction we might meet along the JMT.
Have fun out there!
ManfredJul 26, 2012 at 9:18 am #1897695
if the JMT is too short for you, you could tack on either the Rae Lakes Loop, or the High Sierra Trail in the latter part of your JMT effort. would not change your travel logistics, but may require an extra food drop, depending on you.Jul 26, 2012 at 9:27 am #1897699
If you are in to off trail then the Sierra High Route could be your answer. Get roper's book and off you go. You can also do some side trips like exploring Darwin Bench, exploring the area around Ritter and Banner or any of hundreds of little side trips all over the JMT. You could literally decide to go explore some off trail ( or on) area just because it looks cool. You would have to plan your food to cover the time but it's doable. I think the area that would have the highest interest is to area south of Muir Trail Ranch. Marion Lake would be high on my list. It is on the high route but could also be accessed over cartridge pass. Roper's book will help you on that as well.Jul 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm #1897780
Wow, what a smorgasbord of places to choose from.
To help us narrow it down, yes, it would be helpful to know…
1. Where are you starting and ending your JMT trip?
2. Will you have a car?
3. Are you set on taking all 7-10 days on a single trail, or would you be interested in doing, say, two 4-day trips.
4. What about just moving more slowly along the JMT, and resupplying more often, thus allowing yourself to do several 1-3 day jaunts off the JMT? The best and most remote stuff in the High Sierra is off the JMT! – and you can get away from people.
5. Your level of experience, mood for going on- vs. off-trail, etc. Roper route is awesome but requires willingness to do Class 2 and Class 3 passes and to navigate. And there are lots of achingly beautiful trailed routes you might prefer even if you COULD go x-country. Sometimes I will choose the trail, just to pick off more miles and be more relaxed.
– ElizabethJul 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm #1897817
Thanks all, great suggestions. Appreciate the response -especially since my second post was a tad snarky!
To answer some questions –
I am doing the JMT SOBO, startting at Happy Isles and ending at Whitney, so going north fromYosemite would require some doubling back or getting the shuttle to Touloume, etc. I dream of doing the PCT and had an interest in the section between Yosemite and Tahoe, which is why I ws thinking of that option. I also had to cancel my TRT trip in June. So sad!
I do not have a car.
I do have the High Sierra Route book, but admit my orienteering skills are stale to say the least and havn't done any climbing in many moons, so that whole route may be beyond my ability right now.
I hope to be able to get on the JMT next Wednesday, 8/1. I am hoping to score a walk-In permit. Again, depending on timing, I'm hoping to find another cool spot to explore. Doing JMT side trips is an option, especially if travel time to "something else" will gobble up too much time.
Two four day trips would be fine.
SusanJul 27, 2012 at 10:57 am #1898007
Well, the PCT from Tuolumne north to Sonora Pass is very nice. I'm guessing that's 70 miles? There is a surprising amount of solitude to be found on that stretch, too. Some of the very best spots along that stretch are 1/2 mile to 3 miles off-trail: Rodgers Lake (west of trail near Smedberg) and Bonnie Lake (north of trail at northern Yosemite border) are both Can't Miss.
I don't find the PCT north of Sonora Pass, nor the Lake Tahoe area in general, nearly as scenic as the JMT. Maybe that's just me – I prefer the High Sierra, am not as charmed by the gentler terrain north of Sonora Pass. Of course, not everyone would agree with me here. As for the TRT, maybe save it for a separate trip? Coming directly off all those remote miles on the JMT and/or northern Yosemite, the TRT may seem entirely too close to civilization.
If I had your schedule, I'd add ~3 days to my JMT schedule by dilly-dallying in the Tuolumne to Reds Meadow section and the Silver Pass section that follows. (I only choose those sections over the ones further south because the interval between resupplies is short, so adding a day or two to a section isn't a big food burden.)
Tuolumne to Reds is brimming with amazing side trips to/along some of the most fairy-tale lakes in all the Sierra. It is a total waste to rush through here in 3 days like most people do. You can visit Lyell Glacier, Lost Lakes, Marie Lakes, Davis Lake. You can walk to the northwest end of Thousand Island Lake, and from there, hike to Catherine Lake (more ambitious) and/or over a very easy saddle into the watershed above/to the west of Garnet Lake. That is a freaking gorgeous place, with Banner Peak towering immediately over. A little south of there, detour from the JMT to camp at Ediza Lake and do a dayhike to Nydiver and/or Iceberg Lakes. In fact, once you get to the Shadow/Ediza Lakes area, a most interesting way to finish up is to skip the JMT in favor of the x-country loop from Ediza to Iceberg to Cecile to Minaret Lake and out to Reds Meadow via the Minaret Lake Trail.
Reds Meadow to Edison Lake or Muir Trail Ranch takes you over the Silver Divide, a colorful and generally stunning area. A ton of lakes up there, and I don't know them all so well, so maybe someone here has a specific suggestion for day-exploring. Another option for a side-trip along the Silver Divide is to leave the JMT at Tully Hole, hike east up the McGee Creek Trail to Tully Lake. Once at Tully Lake, hike due west up a gully to find a wonderland of lakes, ponds, and huge metamorphic-rock mountains reflected in alpenglow. Some of my best photos anywhere in the Sierra are taken from that spot.
If you are resupplying at Muir Trail Ranch, you can stop to explore the Selden Pass area or even check out the Italy Pass trail. I don't know this region so well.
Exiting the JMT at Whitney, it'll be easy to find a ride into Lone Pine (just talk to some people you've met on the hike that day). Bishop is a nice overnighting place for resupply. Then hitchhike to Tuolumne Meadows and hike north on the PCT till you run out of time.
I think it's pretty easy to hitchhike around the Sierras, especially the Eastern Sierra.
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