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TR: John Muir Trail, 7/2-7/16


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Home Forums Campfire Member Trip Reports TR: John Muir Trail, 7/2-7/16

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #3729306
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    End of May I shared https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/john-muir-trail-2021-hike-plan/, my John Muir Trail hike plan. It’s about time I get around to telling how it went. In short, success.

    This was my 2nd JMT thru-hike, this time northbound, and first all trail trek since I hiked the JMT (southbound) in 2009. I hike slower now than then and spent more time on trail to sustain the same daily pace.

    Northbound, scenically is quite different than southbound, and I think superior. That could be the newness, as most times I use the JMT I’m heading south. But whichever, a key learning is to stop and look back, in fact look all around. I never know if I’ll get back to a place and I’ve missed so much in my haste.

    2nd time round was a very different experience. I had none of the first-time anxieties, hiked for the most part alone but spent more time at stops, and in camp visiting with others, and I think, I saw more.

    Route-wise I was not a purist. I started at Horseshoe Meadow over Cottonwood Pass and ended at Happy Isles (well actually Yosemite Village). Day hiked Mt. Whitney, side tripped to VVR, errantly detoured to Duck Lake, took the PCT High Trail from Reds Meadow to Thousand Island Lake, and summited Clouds Rest.

    Water along trail was scarce until Wallace Creek, and sources until then quite turbid. At most times I carried and wanted 2 liters at hand.

    Mosquitos were generally a 1 or 2 with one exception, the short section where the trail skirts the Wanda Lake shoreline, there they were at the Biblical plague level. Aside from that, three nights they were annoying from around 7-9pm and I wore a head net and used deet around my wrists and ankles. Biting flies were a major nuisance from Franklin Meadow until Senger Creek, and for most of the way from VVR to Goodall “Harassed by Flies” Pass.

    Weather overall was great. Moderate temps except for the Franklin Meadow to Senger Creek segment (hot), and just a few rain showers. I used a tarp 3 times for the threat of rain, though only one night (at VVR) were there any showers.

    Gear-wise, three standouts. The chrome dome umbrella is awesome, cooler head and constant shade. Used it probably 98% of the hike, packing it only when the wind made it necessary. The Sawyer Micro filter, piece of crap. It clogged the first night pulling water from Upper Rock Creek Lake and was miserable to use for the rest of the trip despite backwashing 2 or 3 times per day. And lastly, my iPhone 12 Pro Max; this is the best electronic gadget I’ve owned. It has plenty of battery life, excellent photo quality, and so intuitively easy I took more than 400 shots.

    Find my day-by-day journal notes here https://vennacher.wordpress.com/2021/10 … rail-2021/, my hike stats here https://1drv.ms/x/s!AuRFCa25NsESgr5XytskoO2afKWu8Q?e=o9nROD, my gear list & mini reviews here https://1drv.ms/x/s!AuRFCa25NsESgr5VEof9awEYvW8wlQ?e=eXPOLk, and menu here https://1drv.ms/x/s!AuRFCa25NsESgr5Wtaiy7aNf4MWegA?e=Gekclx. Meantime, enjoy a daily pic.

    #3729428
    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member

    @feetfirst

    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    Wonderful words and photos, Steve. Thank you for sharing. I also appreciate your food menu breakdown.

    #3729435
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    Alex, thanks.  Glad you enjoyed the write-up.

    #3729461
    Ben C
    BPL Member

    @alexdrewreed

    Locale: Kentucky

    Great pics. Glad the trip went well. I think I like to hike northbound so the sun is at your back and not shining in your eyes so much.

    #3729476
    Erik G
    BPL Member

    @fox212

    Locale: Central Coast

    Excellent write up and photos. Pretty amazing what camera phones (phone cameras?) can do nowadays.

    Did you do any post processing of your photos? Use any special camera apps? I just got a 12 Pro Max as well and would love to know any tips/tricks.

    #3729487
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    Thanks @benc and @erikg.

    It is amazing what the iPhone can do.  Post processing-wise I adjusted the tilt by 2-3 degrees (for whatever reason I hold the camera at a slight angle) and on a number of the shots I backed off the contrast a bit to tease a little color into the shadows.  Other than that, it’s the phone that does all the work.  I use affinity photo.  It has way more features than I’ll probably ever use, but I got it because it can “develop” the pro raw format (though I haven’t figured out how to get decent results yet).

    #3729496
    Mark Cashmere
    BPL Member

    @tinkrtoy

    Locale: NEOH

    Great pics! My son and I hiked Southbound entering at Parker/Mono TH 7/21-8/4 and your recount of your trip really threw me back onto the trail. I can’t believe 2 months have already passed since we were there. I wasn’t convinced that I would do it again while we were doing it, but reading your write-up makes me certain that I would. In case anyone is wondering Koip Pass is no joke! (especially on day 1)

    Thanks for the report!

    #3729501
    Crystal G
    BPL Member

    @cee-gee

    I really enjoyed this – thanks so much for posting.  I did a three week trip this summer (HST – JMT NOBO with some offtrail/sidetrail bits) and this reminded me of both the wonderful parts and the spots where I might make some different decisions.  I had so wanted to sleep/spend time on the Bighorn Plateau but ended up there during the start of a big storm and  proceeded down to Tyndall Creek, so I really enjoyed your pictures from there.  Can’t wait to get back.

     

    #3729554
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    Crystal, what a wonderful trip doing both trails!  How did the burn stretch in the Kern Canyon compare with the burn area north of Lake Edison?  I met a woman near Sandy Meadow who was hiking the HST and she said she smelled like charcoal after passing through the Kern Canyon.

    #3748638
    Ryan Teale
    BPL Member

    @monstertruck-2

    Locale: Almost Yosemite

    Hey Steve!

    You may remember me from the last time you were on the JMT in 2009.  I havn’t been on BPL much since the last several years so it was great to see your post.  I got out last summer as well to do the Rae Lake loop from Kearsarge pass and thought of you and others I met on the JMT.  Great report and photos!

    Ryan

    #3748698
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Glad this thread got bumped; I missed it when first posted. Interesting how different the same trail can be just a few weeks later. We hiked Duck Pass to Kearsearge Pass last summer, SOBO, 7/25-8/5. We encountered almost no bugs, and sent all our bug spray, etc. home at MTR. We did hear horror stories about Wanda and didn’t camp there, but we did pause to watch wildlife there and it wasn’t very buggy. It wasn’t very hot during our trek, except for the Golden staircase, and on the east side of Kearsearge pass (which was broiling); I wouldn’t have wanted the weight of an umbrella for those few spots.

    No matter the conditions though, it’s undeniably beautiful. Please keep that a secret folks. lol

    #3748705
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    Ryan!  I do remember.  And I remember that post hike dinner at the Pizza Factory where you and your fiance’ joined me.

    How are you doing?  Good to hear you are still getting out there.

    I live out on the east coast now so planning a Sierra hike is a bit more work, still I manage to find a way.  Most of my hikes since that first JMT have been rambling about off-trail, and I’ll probably return to the off-trail rambling for the next several years and then do another JMT repeat.

    Keep care!

    #3748706
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    AK, it can change, and fast.  I suspect, it being a dry year the bugs came and went inside a short window.  And yes, undeniably beautiful.  It’s been 53 years since my introduction to the Sierra and it never gets old.

    #3749049
    Ryan Teale
    BPL Member

    @monstertruck-2

    Locale: Almost Yosemite

    Hey Steve!

    Glad you replied!  I am doing well.  Own a home here in Paso Robles, CA and working at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Kathryn and I have 11 and 6 year old girls who are amazing.  Life was really busy there for a while but I got a few trips in to Jennie Lakes, Red Peak Pass, and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne before about a 5 year hiatus until last summer.  I’m planning on getting out this summer to hike from Pine Creek trailhead to Granite Park, Royce Lakes, and then maybe over Piute Pass and out to North Lake or South Lake.  Trying to decide between coming out over Lamarck Col or Dusy Basin. We shall see how I feel and what I’m willing to tackle solo over the week I have set aside.  I did the Rae Lakes Loop from Kearsarge in 4 days last summer so I think I can do it!  What took you out to the East Coast and what are you up to these days?  Keep in touch!

    Ryan

    #3749180
    Tyler R
    BPL Member

    @trex

    Wanda Lake shoreline, there they were at the Biblical plague level

    Yes they were indeed!! I past Wanda lake going NOBO on the JMT on July 8th… your description definitely wasn’t an over exaggeration. Me and my trail pal were covered in them! Though idk if they were actually mosquitos, someone on the trail said they were something else, cant remember what it was he said though. I never dared to find out, I just wore the heard net, pants, puffy jacket and gloves anyways. figured I’d rather be safe (and freakin hot!) than sorry.

    #3749274
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    Tyler, I crossed on the 8th too just before 5pm.  Stopped at Sapphire that night.

    #3749560
    Tyler R
    BPL Member

    @trex

    Oh wow! What a small world! I passed around 10:43 AM and stayed down in McGee canyon that night along Evolution Creek. The next day we resupplied at MTR and camped at Sallie Keyes Lakes. After that was 2 nights at VVR because the first night was to much fun to leave and my trail buddy was really hurting.

    On the 12th we stayed at Lake Virginia.

    On the 13th my trail buddy quit the trail when we got to Mammoth and I spent the night in a hotel wondering if I should do the same, I was missing loved ones at home by that point and not having a companion to finish the trail with kind of put a damper on it for me.

    On the 14th I hit the trail and felt no doubt that I wanted to continue. I had sour patches in hand, the scenery was beautiful and life was good!! Funny how fast my mood changes once on trail. That night I stayed at Ruby Lake between Garnet and Thousand Island.

    Then on the 15th I was feeling incredible physically and did something kind of crazy, I ended up hiking from Ruby Lake to Yosemite Village. It wasn’t my intent to do that, I just started walking and got to Tuolumne Meadows way faster than I thought and the hiker camp was full so I figured I could walk a little further… before I knew it, it was dark and the stars were out, and for some reason I just kept walking. My inreach said 46 miles that day when I finished up at 2:24 AM. It was actually a really cool way to end the trail for me, almost a full moon and hiking over and down into the valley under moonlight while listening to podcast about philosophy and personal life goals/choice was something different for sure. It was probably just the endorphins but either way I think I will remember that days walk as one of the more defining and life shaping moments for me.

     

    I was the guy wearing a lot of blue and had a pocket tarp with a MYOG bug net as for a shelter.

     

     

    #3749858
    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member

    @stevet

    Locale: Northeast

    T-Rex?

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