Hiking the JMT in 9 Days

Foxtail Pine skeletons point towards Twany Point, a worthy detour from the Bighorn Plateau.

I walked the John Muir Trail a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if there is anything to say about it that hasn’t been said before. It was just a really pleasant and enjoyable hike.

I was doing ~25 miles per day and still had time for long conversation breaks, swimming and lounging in cool places.

Highlights

  • Did 28 miles my first day. I was unsure about my ability to average 22mpd. The long first day without trouble reassured me that it wouldn’t be a problem.
  • Ran into people I knew: Rachelle, Lills, Joseph, the buds from Sacramento, the guy from a former workplace, Woodrose, Muleskinner, TPL lady and friend, the three rangers who stopped for long chats, the guy who recognized me from my CDT photos, and Rockin’ and Wired. All of you that I didn’t mention. It was nice meeting you too.
  • Running down Mather Pass and across Upper Basin because of dark clouds, hail and lightning.
  • Hiking Silver and Selden passes in a day. Mather and Pinchot in a day. Glen and Forester in a day. Twany Point and Whitney in a day.
  • Swimming.
  • The solo experience.
  • The act of hiking.

Notes

I camped with a father and son who only had onion soup and a small amount of potato flakes to eat with three days to go. Don’t rely on your ability to fish.

People are cheating and it stinks.

You have to be able to fit all of your food in your canister. Don’t carry a tiny canister because “it’s required to have a canister.” It’s actually required to protect all of your food in the canister. Just having one doesn’t fit the spirit or the letter of the law. The idea is that you protect the bears from your food. Not your food from the bears. Save the bears.

Follow permit rules. The quotas prevent overcrowding. Crowds stink. The JMT is crowded and it’s at least partially the fault of people who cheat.

I didn’t treat any of my water.

Resupplying at Muir Trail Ranch was very convenient. You could resupply from the hiker boxes without a problem.

The trees of the Sierra are dying. I confirm this every time I go out.

Greyhound has problems. There is no guarantee that there will be space on the bus, even if you bought a ticket weeks ago. There were 40+ people waiting for the bus that had 3 seats. There were 60+ people waiting for the bus that came 3 hours later.

Photographs

I’m going to ask you to look at my photos.

Head on over to my Facebook to see my best JMT ’12 Photos.

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One comment

  1. Dirk Rabdau

    “You have to be able to fit all of your food in your canister. Don’t carry a tiny canister because “it’s required to have a canister.” It’s actually required to protect all of your food in the canister. Just having one doesn’t fit the spirit or the letter of the law. The idea is that you protect the bears from your food. Not your food from the bears. Save the bears.”

    Jack, I agree. I was southbounding the JMT early in the summer and the PCTers came through – saw a few I knew from 2009 – and I was surprised how many weren’t carrying a canister or something that could hold maybe two or three days, tops. Arguing was rather futile, several believed they deserved special dispensation since they were thrus. Ugh.

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