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  1. #1
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    Default Newbie itinerary

    Hi,

    I am planning a week long hike from Happy Isle to Devil's Postpile for 3 healthy but inexperienced mid to late 50s brothers and sister. I have been reading here and other websites for 6, 7 months about hiking JMT. With my limited research I came out with the itinerary for September 2016:

    Fri, 9/8, fly to SFO, rent a car, drive to Mammoth Lake, stop at Tuolumne Meadow post office to drop food
    Sat, 9/9, morning bus from ML to , pick up permits, hike from HI to Cloud Rest junction (mi 6.8) - 6.8
    Sun, 9/10, early morning start for Halfdome (5 mile round trip), hike to Sunrise Lake junction (mi 13.5) - 11.3
    Mon, 9/11, Sunrise Lake junction to Tuolumne Meadows, pick up food supply, (mi 22.8) - 9.3
    Tue, 9/12, TM to Marie Lake (mi 38.8) - 16
    Wed, 9/13, Marie Lake to Rosalie Lake (mi 50.7) - 11.9
    Thu, 9/14, Rosalie Lake to Devil's Postpile NP (mi 57.6), bus to ML - 6.9
    Fri, 9/15 Drive from Mammoth Lake to SFO
    Sat, later flight, possibly red-eye.

    We have one open day at the end of the itinerary in case we have to stay on the trail for one more day.

    Now, the questions (for now):
    1- Is it reasonable easy (not difficult) to get permit (including HalfDome) for Sept 2016?
    2- Can I drop a resupply bucket in person at Tuolumne Meadows post office?
    3- Is it a reasonable request to park the rental for 5 nights at the place I will be staying?
    Any input, suggestion will be greatly appreciated.
    Eric

  2. #2
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    First off, all these questions have been answered a billion times, but I don't want to be that smarta$$ guy since this is your first post so I'll try to answer these for you. Note that my info may be a bit dated (I did the JMT in 2013). Also, not trying to pimp out my trail journal, but I did document a lot of detail that may further answer some of your questions. You can view that here: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=414703.

    Quote Originally Posted by Notahiker View Post
    1- Is it reasonable easy (not difficult) to get permit (including HalfDome) for Sept 2016?
    Permits are on a lottery system, and the best you can do is fax (maybe this has changed to an email or something now?) in your application as soon as it will be accepted (check the NPS website for more details) and cross your fingers. If the Illiloutte option is still available that's one way to get a permit fairly easily, and camping out on Illiloutte basin is nice and quiet (this is what I did).

    Quote Originally Posted by Notahiker View Post
    2- Can I drop a resupply bucket in person at Tuolumne Meadows post office?
    When I inquired about this they would only take stuff that was mailed to them. So I'd just call and ask. The post office is pretty small. Another option is to put in it one of the bear boxes in the parking area or the backpacker campground. I don't necessarily condone doing that, but apparently a lot of people do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Notahiker View Post
    3- Is it a reasonable request to park the rental for 5 nights at the place I will be staying?
    Anything can be requested and whether it's reasonable is up to the requestee...just call and ask. Another option is to fly into Reno and use the public transportation on the Eastern side of the Sierras.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
    JMT: 2013

  3. #3
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I believe that this trip report closely approximates your itinerary. You should get a good feel for what lies ahead.

    http://backcountrypost.com/threads/j...s-meadow.5186/

    Reno seems like a lot better place to fly into. You may, or may not, go through SFO airport. You will save considerable driving time and urban traffic. Check the east side transit schedule versus airline schedule carefully.
    Have a great trip.

    Wayne
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  4. #4
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    Just asked all same questions before my thru a few weeks back...feel free to call me 904-334-5754...I hate typing


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  5. #5
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    Berserker, nice blog. Enjoy reading it very much. Not finished yet but it did answer a lot of my follow-up questions. And thank you for not being a [email protected]@ ;-)

    Wayne, I will definitely look into Reno vs SFO. Great idea to start from Glacier Point.

    Saltysack, I believe I have read most of your threads here. Congratulations on your great trip. Great pictures too. Thank you for your generous offer. I might take you up for that soon.

    Eric

  6. #6
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    I'd 2nd flying into Reno. Your Tue mileage (16) might be a little tiresome (tho the first part is flat as a pancake). I wish you luck in the permit process.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
    Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t1M/edit#gid=0

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    I flew into Mammoth and out of Reno...worked perfect. Go from DPP to HI...sure glad I did!! Easier permit out of Inyo. Ascent/decent into valley is a bitch!! In September catch afternoon Yarts back to ML from valley for $18....weekends only. Strongly recommended staying at cinnamon bear inn in ML....Very reasonable, Free hot breakfast with room....Rudy the mgr actually drove me 2x the 13+ miles to DPP free!! ESTA bus goes from ML to Reno around 8:00am on M/Tu/Th/Fr...I caught same bus out of Lone pine. Perfect trip thx to the great support from this forum!! Inyo much easier permit than HI. I'm a flat lander from Fl and 3.5 days was no problem. I started around 10 on a Thursday be finished mid day Sunday.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlZ993 View Post
    I'd 2nd flying into Reno. Your Tue mileage (16) might be a little tiresome (tho the first part is flat as a pancake). I wish you luck in the permit process.
    Carl,

    I checked your AT hike itinerary/log. Impressive stuff. I live an hour away from Harpers Ferry. Maybe someday...

    The 16 mile/day is a concern to me as well. I can start looking for place to camp 1, 2 miles before Donohue Pass if we were tired.

    The downside with Reno is no direct flight from DC/VA/MD and generally more expensive. But all things considered, definite a good candidate.

    Eric

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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    I flew into Mammoth and out of Reno...worked perfect. Go from DPP to HI...sure glad I did!! Easier permit out of Inyo. Ascent/decent into valley is a bitch!! In September catch afternoon Yarts back to ML from valley for $18....weekends only. Strongly recommended staying at cinnamon bear inn in ML....Very reasonable, Free hot breakfast with room....Rudy the mgr actually drove me 2x the 13+ miles to DPP free!! ESTA bus goes from ML to Reno around 8:00am on M/Tu/Th/Fr...I caught same bus out of Lone pine. Perfect trip thx to the great support from this forum!! Inyo much easier than HI. I'm a flat lander from Fl and 3.5 days was no problem. I started around 10 on a Thursday be finished mid day Sunday.


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    Saltysack,

    I thought about starting from Mammoth Lake too. I know you have hiked both north bound (ML to HI) and south bound (ML to Whitney) . Will you say one is preferable than the other? Do your mind sharing your experience with all us newbies reading the threads and dreaming about one day.......

    Will definitely give Rudy and Cinnamon Bear Inn a shout when I visit ML next September. I believe good business/people deserve to stay in business and thrive.

    Eric

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    It worked perfectly in both cases...logistically I think it was easiest way for me from east coast. 2 one way flights....in ML and out of Reno Southwest was one stop in Denver then Jax, Florida...I thought hiking north was not difficult at all except Donohue pass...I was just a little winded there as wasn't acclimated yet..I would head north to avoid that pita climb out of LYV alone!!!


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  11. #11
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    Another thing you might consider is having an extra day on the front end for altitude acclimation. Was there in June this year and the altitude always does a number on me coming from sea-level.

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    Saltysack, go north from Devils Postpile does seem easier. Plus we can fly to LAX then Mammoth in one day, and the premit process is much easier.

    Sswells, good call. We will be taking our time and not afraid of staying on the trail an extra day.


    Eric

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    Once you get your permit, I wld fly directly into ML, grab a room, then take the YARTS the next day, it will go to TM where you can run in & drop the package then continue on to HI (to be honest, you can resupply there without dropping a package). The mileage looks good. Once the RM/Devils Post piles take the shuttle back to ML & fly out. This plan will relieve any stress created by the tight schedule. Enjoy!!! It's mind Blowing!!
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  14. #14
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    With or without a Half Dome permit, you might want to consider Cloud's Rest instead (or both). It's higher (you look down on the ant trail up and down the Half Dome cables), at least as picturesque if not more so, it doesn't require a permit, and it is far, far less crowded.

  15. #15
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    Explore different itineraries on the section of the JMT you are hiking;check on permit availability for those different itineraries; obtain permit; and, THEN make flight and rental vehicle reservations.

    Don't assume another party's experiences with competition for JMT southbound THRU-HIKING permits starting at Happy Isles(HI) will necessarily equal what you will experience in permit competition FOR YOUR JMT SECTION HIKE although I will agree with Saltysack that permits for the JMT section you will hike will generally be easier to obtain hiking from Devils PP to HI. By Sept 8-9 the permit competition for JMT section hikes starting at HI TH starts to wane although fri and sat days generally demonstrates increased competition. Descending into Yosemite Valley(YV) to the HI TH is welcome at the end of your hike rather than ascending from the get go although on the ascent you will experience a great interesting variety of scenery. YV has much added allure especially in mid Sept as the crowds fall off! Don't pass those opps by! One of the BEST times is the Fall in YV IMO. If you do decide on Devils PP to HI TH you will have to get to the DPP TH. There's a Bus that goes between ML and the TH and even though it should be running in early Sept call first. http://www.nps.gov/depo/planyourvisi...nformation.htm


    Based on what you're saying you should consider San Fran AP as a fly in location as well as Merced and Fresno. I like SF Int AP/Merced Regional AP/Fresno Int AP AP for: 1) Assuming you are in a rental car, on your drive to Mammoth Lakes(ML) or on the drive back to SF you will drive right by Crane Flat grove of Giant Redwoods, a very worthy short diversion to experience Giant Redwoods you will NOT on the JMT. I HIGHLY recommend a stop there! 2) You will be driving right by Tuolomne Meadows PO/Cafe(Grill)/GROCERY STORE! IF, for whatever reasons, you do need to drop resupply off at Tuolomne Meadows(TM) you can do it on the way to ML. Even though driving a rental car from Reno AP to ML is about 3 hrs compared to the about 5 hrs it takes to drive to ML from SF AP the out and back EXTRA SIDE TRIP to TM from Reno AP will result in added time making it not much of a driving time difference. The same can be said for flying into Merced AP. 3) IF, you do decide on choosing public transportation to get to ML there is greater versatility of scheduling and transportation options from SF or Merced than Reno. Amtrak and large buses service Merced from where you seamlessly change to a YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley(HI TH) or connect to ML from SF. YARTS also services Fresno Int AP, ALSO, providing the opportunities listed above. http://yarts.com/routes-schedules/ http://maps.trilliumtransit.com/map/feed/yosemite-ca-us As Berserker related, and Venchka alluded to, and as I've experienced for myself, and have seen it occur with others, there is ONLY one small jittery shuttle bus on a LIMITED schedule from Reno AP to ML that leaves on Fri at 1:30 p.m that takes about 3 hrs 45 mins to arrive at an estimated 5:15 p:m. in ML. Not another one until Mon. http://www.estransit.com/routes-sche...-pine-to-reno/ I've taken this bus between ML and Reno at least a dozen times. On a fri I COULD see it arriving in ML later than anticipated. 4) SF is a much more interesting and scenic city than Reno which in my harshly judgmental opinion is a second or third class gambling town. South Reno little nicer. Merced is a tiny rural town closest to Yosemite NP of what I've listed. Fresno is a med sized city bit spread out usually sweltering not as scenic as SF but should be cool in early Sept.

    Having a rental car gives you more options but entails considerations too possibly allowing you to fly into one AP and out of another but likely incurring additional rental vehicle fees. Could even have a rental vehicle only on the way to your hike or after to save on fees as the car sits around in ML, or wherever, while not being used.

    TM GROCERY Store is seasonal shutting down around mid Sept. It should be open for your dates. Consider buying AFTER inquiring at the store on what's available close to your arrival in Cali. They cater to the camping/hiking crowd so usually have decent selections of chow but shelves can start becoming bare as they near the closing dates in mid Sept OR NOT. CALL! I've seen hiker boxes in the grocery store overflowing with lots of great dehydrated food in Sept but have also seen almost nothing. Never dropped a bucket at TM PO but have mailed resupply boxes there. As Berserker said dropping a bucket off in a TM CG Bear Box might be iffy. I've heard of it working out and at other times not. AGAIN, check seasonal opening dates at the PO and TM CG. OPEN grill MEANS you should consider adding that into the chow equation. B-fast sandwiches are OK.

    Nice waterfall near Devils PP.... Rainbow Falls which requires a shortish side trip. Reds Meadow should still be open which also has a sit down restaurant and small camp store with SOME resupply but could be iffy for a FULL resupply late in the season OR NOT.

    Check the legality of your anticipated camping locations. For one, you may not be able to camp in the vicinity of the Sunrise Lakes Tr junction.

  16. #16
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notahiker View Post
    Carl,

    I checked your AT hike itinerary/log. Impressive stuff. I live an hour away from Harpers Ferry. Maybe someday...

    The 16 mile/day is a concern to me as well. I can start looking for place to camp 1, 2 miles before Donohue Pass if we were tired.

    The downside with Reno is no direct flight from DC/VA/MD and generally more expensive. But all things considered, definite a good candidate.

    Eric
    Thanks about the itinerary. Stay in shape. When it is financially feasible to hike the AT, give it a go.

    Being from Austin, I've been able to get non-stop flights on Southwest to Reno in the past. Good luck on your hike. The Sierras are my favorite place to hike in the US.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
    Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t1M/edit#gid=0

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    Hi, OP here. I have since spent hours daily reseaching anything and everything JMT and backpacking in general. To use JMT section as my maiden voyage, I have A LOT to learn. Thank you all for the inputs and suggestions, the new plan is now to start from Devils Postpile NM to Yosemite Valley for obvious reasons that many of you have eloquently stated. Will fly to Mammoth Lake. Start the hike from Devils Postpile NM the next morning:

    Day 1- Devils Postpile NM - Rosalie Lake (7.4mi)
    Day 2- Rosalie Lake - Rush Lake TH (11.4mi)
    Day 3- Rush Lake TH - Lyell Canyon (10.3 mi)
    Day 4- Lyell Canyon - Cathedral Lakes (11.2mi)
    Day 5- Cathedral Lakes - Clouds Rest TH (6.8mi)
    Day 6- Clouds Rest TH - Half Dome - Happy Isle (12.8mi)
    Day 7- Yosemite Valley
    Day 8- YARTS - Amtrak - LAX

    Will spend Day 7 at the valley or as a buffer day in case we had a delay or emergency on the trail.

    As a newbie, I have to end my post with a newbie question....
    We plan to have a before dawn start for HD (or CR if we can't get the HD permit) to hopefully catch the sunrise from the top. Is it safe or even legal to leave the tent intact and backpacks inside the tent until we got back?

    Again, thank you all for spend the time responding.

    Eric

  18. #18
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    oops, day 5 is 11.7 mile not 6.8 mile.
    Eric

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    If you can get a flight into ML that jives with your logistics, arrange for transportation into and out of ML, and can avoid dropping off a resupply at TM you may strongly consider not even getting a rental vehicle on the front end.

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    Yep, if want sobo, dont bother planning until after get permit. 90% chance you wont get it.

    Permit situation will change every year also. And be harder.

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