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Thread: JMT questions

  1. #1

    Default JMT questions

    I'm an experienced backpacker who thru-hiked the AT in 2007. I'm planning a JMT southbound thru-hike starting about 8/1/09. I'm a total newbie on the JMT.

    Question 1 - I'm going to do mail drops at Reds and VVR. I'd like to avoid sending a maildrop to MTR if possible. I've read in the Wenk guidebook and elsewhere that I don't really need to send a maildrop to MTR, since there is lots of food to choose from excess maildrops folks have left there, if one isn't too picky. Call it my cheapskate Scotch heritage, but I'd like to try this. I'm thinking that if all else fails I'll have enough from my VVR maildrop to get to Kearsarge Pass, and then I can hitch into Independence. Is this a realistic strategy?

    Question 2 - I have two good bags, a 35 degree and a 15, both North Face. Can I get by with the 35 degree, and save about a half pound?
    Early Bird 2007

  2. #2
    Registered User garbanz's Avatar
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    I hiked the JMT southbound in 2 weeks starting Sept 1, 2007. It was an exceptionally beautiful hike with good trout fishing and dry weather. Days were warm but a couple of nights it dipped into the 30's. This is especially true if you camp above 10,000 feet. The 35 degree bag should get you by but take some warm clothes in case you have to bundle up. Yes, Muir Trail Ranch provides a wide choice of free excess hiker food and you should have no trouble filling your food bag. It was like a smorgasboard that would fill several hiker boxes and of exceptional quality. In 2007 MTR closed in mid September so you may want to check on their closure date for this year. The food drop I sent to Reds got chewed on by mice---the guy at the Reds general store said it must have went thru Death Valley PO where the mice are notorious for eating on packages they smell food in. Good Luck.

  3. #3

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    Thanks much, Garbanz.
    Early Bird 2007

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    Registered User rt8877's Avatar
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    Hiked JMT Aug 19 - Sept 1 2008, started with 3 days of food, purchased food at Red's and then picked up free food at Muir Ranch for 7 days. No Problems

  5. #5
    Registered User rt8877's Avatar
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    Also Puchased Food At Tm And Reds

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    I believe I read that you have to stay at the Muir Trail ranch to take advantage of their food grab bag.

  7. #7

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    Working with what you have:
    35 * bag inside a tent with some warm sleeping clothing waiting in the wings just in case and you should be fine Sept 1. 15 * bag with a bivy sack or under a tarp or if you sleep like an ice cube. Check long term forecast just before you make the final decision.

    I've never sent a resupply package to MTR, but know quite a few who have. Like Rambler, I've heard you had to have sent a box there or be staying there to rumage through the often juicy hiker box. Sept 1 is getting later in the season though so they may have a lot left over from the busier summer season that they want to get rid of, but you never really know what's going to be in a hiker box. Usually something in the VVR hiker barrel though. All in all, yeah you could plan on taking enough resupply out of VVR with enough to get you out to the Kearsarge Pass TH and in the event you could score some trailfood from MTR on the way you wouldn't have to hike out Kearsarge Pass. Kearsarge Pass is pretty though, but isn't all of the JMT.

  8. #8

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    I would avoid sending a mail drop at Red Meadows. There are plenty of supermarkets in towns. A mail drop is not worth the effort. I went from Red Meadows to Whitney in 7 days without any problems.

    Wolf

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
    I believe I read that you have to stay at the Muir Trail ranch to take advantage of their food grab bag.
    Actually, you can't stay at Muir Trail Ranch. You can camp nearby, but staying at the ranch is for their horse-trekker customers.

    I would highly recommend camping near MTR and taking a soak in the hot spring. Ahhhh!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  10. #10

    Default Staying at MTR

    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Actually, you can't stay at Muir Trail Ranch. You can camp nearby, but staying at the ranch is for their horse-trekker customers.
    Unless things have changed since last September, this is not entirely correct. It's true that they won't allow you to set up your tent at MTR, but if you make reservations or there are openings when you arrive, hikers were welcome to rent a cabin there. It's not cheap, but it's an option.

  11. #11

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    I will also tell you to consider going into Mammoth Lakes from Reds Meadow on one of the frequent buses leaving from RM. Mammoth lakes is an excellent trail town. It has everything a JMT thru-hiker could want all within a compact town. A bus will take you all the way, or most of the way, to ML. For someone thru-hiking the JMT sobo it is the last real full service town you will have the chance to relatively easily visit near the trail. Plenty of hotels, but if you were on a tight budget you could stay cheaply at the forest service campground. When someone like Wolf 23000, with all those trail miles, suggests something it would be wise to consider what he's saying.

    Muir Trail Ranch caters to the hiker or those arriving on stock with usual multi-day stay reservations, but sometimes they allow others to stay impromptu if there is room, though they don't encourage this. They also open their doors during a several week period for those without reservations . You should inquire directly from then for further details. You can stay near MTR at several campsite locations free and take a soak in the public hot(warm) hot springs, but I have found it preferable to ford the nearby river and soak in the hot spring fed pond at the base of the cliff in the willow grove. Whatever you decide to do go with a respectful non-entitlement hiker attitude and the folks at MTR are likely to give you greater cooperation. Also, understand that this is obviously NOT the AT. As you are probably well aware there are fewer resupply opportunities than on the AT. Places like VVR and MTR bring in resupplies by stock or long winding roads from a considerable distance away which means sending resupply boxes to either place is more expensive than sending a resupply box to an AT resupply location.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rt8877 View Post
    Hiked JMT Aug 19 - Sept 1 2008, started with 3 days of food, purchased food at Red's and then picked up free food at Muir Ranch for 7 days. No Problems
    Patt who runs the food program there will not let you do that if she catches you. I talked to a hiker who tried the same this July and she gave him the speech of "being prepared" and didn't let him take more than half the food he really needed. He was pretty starved when we met him at Guitar Lake.

    Go to the ranch on a weekend, when she's not there, and you may be able to dig into the supplies as much as you want. They definitely have enough extra (5 full buckets when we stopped there around July 10)

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