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  1. #1
    Registered User 2009ThruHiker's Avatar
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    Default Jmt Time Restraints...

    I'd like some advice on what I can plan on for distance assuming the following:
    I would arrive at the trail head midday on day 1 and need to be heading off trail at some point on day 13 or early 14... I'm assuming I will need to hike the JMT in two different years due to these time restraints...

    thanks in advance for the thoughts.

    I'm a regular backpacker, in good shape, but not used to major elevation...in the shennies of VA i typically do 8-12 miles days on backpacking trips.
    You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

  2. #2

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    That's going to be tough. I would recommend doing it over two years if those are your time constraints, but if you do want to go for it . . .

    I recommend starting on day 1 (even though it will be midday) in Tuolumne Meadows and hiking all the way down into the valley in one hike. It's 24 miles (more or less, depending on what map or guidebook you're looking at), but my friends and I did it in about 6.5 hours. Camp in the valley and get the 8am shuttle back to Tuolumne and head south from there.

    This will knock out one of the hardest days of elevation gain without you doing any climbing, and give you a big first day that will negate starting late.

    If you do that you'll have to average about 15.5 miles per day, which is doable. But you may get hit badly by the elevation -- in my opinion that's a pretty high average when hiking at elevation. Good luck, though!
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

    http://www.wizardsofthepct.com

  3. #3
    Registered User 2009ThruHiker's Avatar
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    thanks! mucho appreciation.
    You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

  4. #4

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    Hey Jester! Isn't that cheating? (just kidding, it's a great idea actually and something i've never thought of)
    I often recommend a NOBO JMT because of the long downhill ending vs the climb out of the village.
    Another option is to go in on the PCT from somewhere like cottonwood pass road and grab whitney on the side trail of the PCT which is the JMT from Crabtree meadows.

    If you are in good shape and acclimate ok, it's definitely doable in 14 days.
    Anywhere in the middle is a tough blue blaze to get off and back on though.
    Unless you make it to either red's meadow NOBO or Independence SOBO.

    Have fun. It's a great trail.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  5. #5

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    All possible ideas, but if someone is thinking of doing the JMT and avoid climbing/climbs you are on the wrong trail. Go somewhere else that's flat.

    Most JMT thru-hikers probably avg. somwhere between 14-17 miles per day.

    2009ThruHiker, you are from VA. I don't know if you have ever done significant hiking in the Sierras, but IMO it's not a place to rush a hike! To me that would be a shame. IMO, leave the AT thru-hiking mentality - gotta go go go - gotta be somewhere else - on the east coast. You just finished an AT thru-hike. You are from the east coast. I think I understand where you are at. First, there are many significant elev. changes. Second, IMO, it has some of the best hiking scenery to be found anywhere in the country. Allow enough time to experience it/to let it in, even if that means you need to make two trips to the JMT from VA. I also advise if you have never spent appreciable time seeing the sights in Yosemite Valley allow a day just for that.

    ENJOY the journey!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    All possible ideas, but if someone is thinking of doing the JMT and avoid climbing/climbs you are on the wrong trail. Go somewhere else that's flat.

    Most JMT thru-hikers probably avg. somwhere between 14-17 miles per day.

    2009ThruHiker, you are from VA. I don't know if you have ever done significant hiking in the Sierras, but IMO it's not a place to rush a hike! To me that would be a shame. IMO, leave the AT thru-hiking mentality - gotta go go go - gotta be somewhere else - on the east coast. You just finished an AT thru-hike. You are from the east coast. I think I understand where you are at. First, there are many significant elev. changes. Second, IMO, it has some of the best hiking scenery to be found anywhere in the country. Allow enough time to experience it/to let it in, even if that means you need to make two trips to the JMT from VA. I also advise if you have never spent appreciable time seeing the sights in Yosemite Valley allow a day just for that.

    ENJOY the journey!
    I agree that the JMT should not be rushed. I want to go back and spend about a month hiking it. That would be the right pace for me -- if I find a spectacular place to camp that's only five miles from the last place I camped, I want to be able to do that.

    That said, if his time constraints are such that he doesn't see himself having longer than 2 weeks off at a time for the forseeable future, well, I say better to see it fast than not at all.

    My suggestion about going down-valley on the first day addressed not a desire to avoid climbs, but a need to compensate for a shortened day 1. By doing so, he slots the rest of his days right in the middle of the 14-17 mile days you mentioned.
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

    http://www.wizardsofthepct.com

  7. #7

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    I think your Day 1 and Day 2 idea is a good one Jester. Didn't intend to step on your toes. I'm just looking at the OP's recent AT thru-hike and the mentality that often goes with that at the finish line.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I think your Day 1 and Day 2 idea is a good one Jester. Didn't intend to step on your toes. I'm just looking at the OP's recent AT thru-hike and the mentality that often goes with that at the finish line.
    Gotcha. I agree with you on that.
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

    http://www.wizardsofthepct.com

  9. #9

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    Three things to bear in mind about hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Happy Isle first:

    1) Starting from TM, you have an immediate mile, foot climb to feet, followed by a long downhill to the Valley. Are you going to be in shape for a 24 mile trek on day one, and can you do it between 10 am and the same evening?

    2) Staying in Yosemite Valley requires advance reservations so be sure you have them before you apply for your permit dates. The walk-in sites will be long gone by the time you get there on the evening of day one.

    3) There are TWO different buses running between the Valley and TM. The Hikers' Shuttle bus in the morning (about 8 am), and the YARTS bus from the Yosemite Valley Visitors' Center at 5 pm. Note that the latter bus is the primary mode of transportation for valley workers who live in Mammoth Lakes so be sure you get in line early as the seats fill up fast. The YARTS bus is a full-sized Greyhound type.

    When my son and I did this section, we stayed overnight at the TM Backpackers' campground, then hit the trail to YV about 8 am the next morning. We camped at Little Yosemite Valley on day one, arriving there about 2:30 pm. Had a relaxing swim in the Merced River, and walk leisurely down to Happy Isle the next morning. Spent half a day touring the valley and caught the YARTS bus back to TM for another night in the campground. Headed south towards Donohue Pass the next morning. Yes, we could have made it all the way to YV on day one, but not in time to get the YARTS bus, and we didn't have campground reservation in YV.

    Something to consider, especially since you are starting late (10 am) that first day.


    If you want or have to split the JMT into two pieces, I'd suggest you go south, exiting over Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley campground and hitch down to Lone Pine. Catch the CREST (now ESTA) bus to Reno and go home. Next year, reverse this, going from OV to Whitney, then DOWN the east face of the Sierra to Whitney Portal. Easy hitch into Lone Pine. ESTA back to Reno and fly home. Done!

    The JMT is far too scenic to rush through. Take the time to enjoy it. Incidentally, the views get increasingly better going south, but north bound, you won't have the sun in your eyes all day.

  10. #10

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    Grrr. too fast on the trigger.

    It is a tad over 5 miles from TM at 8580 feet to the high point at 9900 feet, then it's essentially all downhill to Happy Isle.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wandering_bob View Post
    Three things to bear in mind about hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Happy Isle first:

    2) Staying in Yosemite Valley requires advance reservations so be sure you have them before you apply for your permit dates. The walk-in sites will be long gone by the time you get there on the evening of day one.
    We stayed in the backpacker site in Yosemite Valley, as did everyone else we met on the JMT that year. Some people shared a site with strangers, but everyone worked it out.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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

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  12. #12

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    All excellent pts. WB!

  13. #13
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    Well, I am a 65 year young flat lander from MA, but I hiked the trail in 14 days. But, it took two travel days just to get to the park using all public transportation, plane, train, bus, so I started hiking on Day three. (Flew to Fresno with a night in Merced) I also had to spend two nights in Lone Pine, because the bus south only goes on M, W, F. But, the bus link got me by train to LAX and I took the red-eye home, so you can get from Lone Pine to the east coast in one day.

    I would never tell anyone to hike it south to north. I cannot imagine hiking up Whitney on Day one or staying at the zoo I saw at "High Camp". Or, if I had to hike NOBO, I would plan to hike in to Whitney from the southern side which might take an extra day, but be worth it for the beauty and solitude.

    I carried enough food to get me to VVR, but I did not spend the night there,so I did not have to carry much food to get to Muir Trail Ranch which was wonderful. (I got to VVR via Goodale Pass and climbed out via the beautiful Beaver Creek tr. including a nasty 3 mile road hike out of VVR, I got lost, then got a ride getting to the trailhead. Also I was very confused by the cut-off trail and almost turned around which would have been a disaster. The trail is not entirely on the Harrison JMT maps)
    Redx Meadows is another place to send supplys ahead. It is a very short hike off-trail to get to the re-supply place which is at the store. At that store area, you can get a hot shower and a good hot lunch.

    If you do not have time to hike the whole trail, look for a book Day and Section hikes for the JMT by Kathleen Dodge. Every section of the JMT is beautiful. There is always something amazing and breathtaking. I would return to section hike it anytime.

    Another way to shorten your trip, but still cover an amazing part of the trail would be to start at Red Meadows. From Red meadows to Duck Pass Jct. is around 12 miles with only a gradual elevation climb. Very doable for Day 1.
    Arrive at Lone Pine in 11 or 12 days.

    The next year you could easily spend a week hiking out from Yosemite and hike on other trails looping off of the JMT around Red Meadows, such as to Mianaret Lake or even off trail looping around Thousand Island Lake. YARTS travel between Red Meadows and Yosemite is easy.

  14. #14
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    Okay, try this:

    Fly to Reno, bus to Mammoth Lakes (Red Meadows)

    http://easternsierratransitauthority...-pine-reno.php

    Day One: Hike Red meadows to jct of Ducks Pass
    Day Two: Over Silver pass down to or near Mott Lake Jct.
    Day Three: Camp near or just beyond Bear Creek Trail jct
    Day Four: over relatively easy climb up and over Seldon pass descend to resupply at Muir Trail Ranch, hike out of there to Puite Trail jct. campsites
    Day Five: Options: Furthest would be over Muir Pass to Helen Lake 18 miles. It was such a beautiful day I could not stop hiking but arrived at Muir Pass worn out around 7:30 PM. Shorten your hike slightly to Wanda Lake or one of the earlier lakes, but beyond Evolution Lake to at least Saphire Lake.
    Day Six: You will be hiking over Muir Pass in the morning, but then it is all down to Deer Meadow. Thiswould be a long day, but doable because of the terrain.
    Day 7: Over Mather Pass to King River Jct. just south of Bench Lake Ranger Station.
    Day 8: over Pinchot Pass to Dollar Lake (Rae Lakes Region)
    Day 9: over Glen Pass to jsut south of Forester Pass. Hike up out of the valley until almost above tree line. This is key. There is good water there, too. Maybe a mile or so north of the Lake at 12,520.
    Day 10: You climb over Forester Pass first hours of the morning.and hike to Guitar Lake (viewed from Whitney you will see this lake is shaped like a guitar!).
    Day 11: Over Whitney and out to Lone Pine.

    Try not to be going over passes at the end of the day.


    This would be a great hike to lengthen by a couple of days by shortening either the day after you leave the Muir Trail Ranch and the days before or after Forester Pass. The section after Forester Pass is a great section to take an extra day. Avoid Trail Camp! Camp well below that if you have to.
    Lots of people will be at Trail Camp, so if you want to be social....okay.

    From Lone Pine you can get to LAX or back to Reno. You can also link up with Amtrak to San Francisco or Bakersfield.

    In short, I would highly recommend a 14 day hike Red Meadows to Lone Pine along the JMT. (about 160 miles)

  15. #15

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    You can easily do that and still take a day off in town and laze around the various burger joints near the trail.

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