View Full Version : Resupply ?'s, etc.
So in the first days September I'll be starting the JMT with three long-distance newbies and am now just starting to seriously look at planning, so I have a few questions. We have a 25, almost 30 day window to do the hike and plan to stretch out the experience.
We will have two vehicles, leaving one at Whitney Portal/Lone Pine and the other hopefully in Yosemite. Any suggestions on the best places to go about doing this?
We'll be meeting in Lone Pine a few days before the hike and driving up to Yosemite, so that leaves the option of dropping off resupply packages along the way. It looks like Reds Meadow would be a good place to do so - does it make sense anywhere else?
Our hike will start on the 4th from Happy Isles - this is a Friday so we'll skip Tuolumne and go straight on to Red's Meadow, also planning to stop at Vermilion and Muir Trail Ranch. I'm assuming all the resupply points have denatured alcohol/HEET and a good supply of white gas and isopro on hand?
I'm interested in hearing more about the difficulty of the hitch from the Kearsage Pass Trail into Independence. There's 4 in our group so we would likely have to separate for the ride. Initially we were going to pack 8-10 worth of food for the long haul but this seems like a much better option since we'll surely have the time.
Speaking of extra time, feel free to let me know about viable interesting side trips, etc. Thanks!
Speaking of extra time, feel free to let me know about viable interesting side trips, etc. Thanks!
Start at Horseshoe Meadows and hike through the Miter Basin, up Crabtree Pass to Discovery Pinnacle to Mt Whitney.
The climb up Red Cones is a nice side trip. I took some nice photos from the top and watched an incredible sunset.
I'd also recommend going up to Clouds Rest. One of my favorite spots along the JMT.
If you have those resupply pts. planned already I can't see how dropping supplies off at any other places, on your drive to Yosemite Valley(Happy Isles), would help. Maybe, you could drop some food wt. off at Tuolomne Meadows at the PO or arrange to have someone hold some food there for you. This way you would be starting at Happy Isles with a little less wt. If you were planning a resupply at Independence I would also drop off supplies there on my way to Yosemite Valley. Indy has some motels, a PO, and no large grocery store. A bus does go through town to bigger towns with better resupply options. If you had to, you could go south to the much larger town of Ridgecrest or north to Bishop for more amenities and services. I would just leave a resupply box in Indy; have someone hold it for you. If you simply can't find someone to hold a box for you Priority mail a box to yourself from Indy to Indy and it will be there for you at the PO when you get there. I think the motel near the PO may hold a box for you. The hitch from the Kearsarge Pass TH into Indy isn't that hard in Sept. The four of you will get a ride. It's the hitch back out to the TH from Indy that has always been a problem for me as a lone hitchhiker. I think there may be a taxi service in Indy that will take you back up to the TH. I would check on the taxi service though before hand. The hike over Kearsarge Pass is beautiful. There are others who could probably give you a better answer with this question as I rarely to never have the option of even one car never the less two cars on any of my hikes.
If you are staying in Lone Pine for a few days before you begin you may want to ask around about leaving the car in a safe place in town where it can be watched, but I don't think you would have a problem leaving it at Whitney Portal TH either. If you did leave it in town that would mean having to get a hitch into Lone Pine at the end of the hike. This should be no problem as Whitney Portal TH parking lot sees a lot of traffic and a lot of that traffic is from the hiking crowd. There is a small shop/cafe at the WP TH parking lot.
Definitely, hike to the summit of Mt Whitney. It's a easy walk up.
On the way to Happy Isles you will pass through two good full service resupply trail towns - Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. If you should need anything from an outfitter to healthfood to groceries to a hotel to a PO to a doctor, etc. these are some of the best towns to get that stuff done. You could also plan a resupply at Mammoth Lakes on your hike south rather than Reds Meadow if you think a day in town would be good at that stage in your journey south for all involved.
I commend all in your party for allowing plenty of "ooh and ahh" time to soak in the Sierra's exquisite beauty. With the time you have allotted for the hike you should be fine, even with the thru-hiking newbies. If any in your party like to catch wild trout you should consider carrying a light wt. pack rod and some spinners.
If not all in your party have been to Yosemite Valley(Happy Isles) before consider a day or two extra in and around the valley. Like Phreak suggested, Clouds Rest is a great side trip or just as an alternate loop to the JMT. Camping at Clouds Rest is not shortly forgotten. Of course you should go up Half Dome too before you get to Clouds Rest.
Probably everyone is going to be eager to start the JMT official but if you want, and I definitely suggest it, start the JMT, or do a a two day pre hike, by hiking up the Pahono Trail, which starts near Bridal Veil Falls, up past Stanford, Dewey, and Taft Pts to Sentinel Dome near Glacier Pt. Take 15 min side hike to top of Sentinel Dome. All these points have far reaching views up, down, and across Yosemite Valley and there are few hikers on the Pahono Tr. This trail will take you away from the masses of tourists down in the valley. From Glacier Pt. you could hike back down into the valley or continue on the Panorama Trl(recommended) past less visited and known Illioutte Falls to Clark Pt. where you will visit Nevada and Vernal Falls on or near the Mist Tr. The Mist Tr connects to the official JMT route. In my mind this is a much more scenic way to start a JMT thru-hike. If any of this sounds sketchy or confusing it absolutely isn’t. Just view a Yosemite Valley Trail map and you will see it makes sense.
Thanks for all the info so far.
Just to clarify, you think it would be okay to leave a car at the Whitney Portal trailhead for 3-4 weeks (With the usual trailhead parking precautions of course?).
None of us have been to Yosemite before, but unfortunately it looks like we won't have much time there - our permit at Happy Isles is for 9/4 and we can't meet in Lone Pine until late 9/1 or early 9/2, leaving only a day on 9/3 to probably do Half Dome. I really don't know anything at all about Yosemite except the bear situation, common Ansel Adams photos, and that Half Dome is supposed to be "the" hike to do. Don't have my hands on a map yet so of course all that jargon in your last paragraph Dogwood is a little overwhelming.
I basically discredited Tuolomne for a drop because with our hike starting on a Friday we would be going through there on a weekend. I read elsewhere too that Red's Meadow is a great place to go into town - a friend already bought 10 pounds of cous cous and would be greatly disappointed not to go through most of it so I though we'd plan another drop there (The supply point is essentially right on the trail?) and then play it by ear whether or not to go into town.
The Whitney Portal TH isn't a backwoods TH. It's busy. There is a campground there too but it is frequented mostly by the car camping crowd. I have never heard of anyone having trouble leaving a car there. I would ask the campground host or someone at the shop/cafe if they could keep an eye on your car. You might want to try to find a ph # for the shop so you could inquire about any of their suggestions about leaving a car before you actually get to Whitney Portal.
Yosemite Valley is a beautifullly scenic place and has a lot to offer but it's also packed with tourists. Half Dome is absolutely great side trip but it is THE thing to do in Yosemite so everyone is there. You will not be alone!
Sorry about overwhelming you. I know what I suggested isn't going to be attempted by 95 % of those hiking the JMT. Usually it's because folks don't have enough time or are just too eager to get to the official JMT route. Just thought I would mention it since you asked about worthwhile side hikes.
Okay, thanks, looks like I have it all figured it out now on the planning front. Final question, Dogwood, I just realized Half Dome is on the way, as opposed to a completely separate hike. We'll have only one full day in Yosemite (Arriving late 9/2 or early 9/3) before our official permit start on 9/4, is that enough time to do the loop you described, or can you recommend a different hike to fill the day?
Half Dome is on a several mile RT spur off the JMT. It takes many hikers a couple of hours to a half day to hike RT up Half dome and back to the JMT.
Starting from Pahono TH on the old Winowa Rd(Tunnel) to Glacier Pt takes 3/4 to 1 day if you make brief stops at all the pts. I did it in 1/2 a day, continued on the Panorama Tr. past Vernal and Nevada Falls, and camped the first night just past the junction with the spur to Half Dome. You could also stay at campsites before the junction. You could start at the Pahono TH and just continue on from there to the JMT and your permit be legit if you start at the Pahono TH on 9/3. If the only/main reason you are concerned is because the permit dates you might ask the ranger at the Backcountry permit office to extend your permit for one more day. Never had a problem doing this in the valley. If you feel you all need a slower day you could just stay in the valley and do some short visits to nearby Bridal Veil Falls and Yosemite Falls and the next day take the free shuttle bus over to nearby Happy Isles and start at the official JMT TH. Kinda depends on when you get there and are all feeling.