WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 49
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-07-2011
    Location
    United States
    Age
    59
    Posts
    6

    Default JMT with an 11yo in August - general advice?

    I stumbled across this site tonight as I start serious preparation for a JMT trip this year with my 11yo daughter and my sister. I've done some Sierras hiking before (maybe 15-20 nights total, mostly around New Army pass, Whitney summit from behind, Cottonwood lakes region, and a bit up by Mammoth), mostly in late August. My daughter went over New Army pass last year as her intro to the Sierras and is several inches and a pounds heavier now! She only had 3 nights total, but the last day was 14 miles out through Cottonwood pass and she finished strong and happy. My sister has done lots of hiking in Australia, but none in the Sierras yet.

    We have permits for early August for an 18 day trip, departing from Yosemite Valley. I figure we'll take it easy at first (~8 mile days) and gradually ramp up to 12-15 MPD. We'll resupply at every reasonable opportunity and try and keep pack weight really light (< 20lbs + food).

    It looks like there is heaps of experience here, so thanks in advance for any advice you might have!

    I had a bunch of random questions that I haven't seen answered in a couple of hours browsing - apologies if I missed some of the more common answers!

    Questions:

    0) any alarm bells ringing already? My wife isn't excited about this trip, and maybe my enthusiasm for it is blinding me to actual problems.

    1) any overall advice for hiking the JMT with a near-teen? She's motivated, but niave about what she'll face I'm sure (as am I perhaps!). Last year I worked hard to keep her pack light (~15% body weight / 11 lbs) and frequently fed (2-3 hrs) and rested (every hour) and that seemed to work out pretty well. This year, that will be more of a challenge due to the food requirements of course, aiming for a 15 lb base packweight for her this year to start with.

    2) how much leeway is there in our exit date? If we hit Whitney a couple of days late, will we be stopped from summiting?

    3) Is asking about walking poles likely to trigger a religious debate? I've always found them to be cumbersome, but others swear by them.

    4) Any general guidelines for fitness preparation? I'm 47 and fairly active (bike ~100 miles/week). My daughter is less so. I've been concentrating on getting out for weekend hikes with her in all weather, wearing the gear we plan to take, with the primary goal of identifying badly fitting/peforming items, as well as getting used to them. We've done a couple of 10 mile days with 2k altitude gain, but nothing with full packs yet. We have a shakedown hike in Australia for 5-6 nights in July (winter there) which will almost certainly be wet and cold and I plan on taking all the sierras gear (including bear canisters!) to make it as real as possible -- it will be our first hike with the 3 of us.

    5) What questions should I be asking!

    I was going to ask about snow in August, but reading about the weather this year, it sounds like its too early to (usefully!) speculate.

    Again, many thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Default

    220 miles of JMT 18 days alloted time. That's about an avg of 12 MPD everyday for 18 days straight.

    Understand you and everyone in your party is making a leap from 3 day outings to now an 18 day outing. You are hiking with a woman and girl. Making some judgements but they don't typically like bugs, dirt, etc. Take bug dope and do laundry, if not for you than them! When hiking with newbies and/or children I really tend to ratchet everything back. I take on a different focus. I'm the trip leader. I'm out there not just for myself anymore! Some newbies and youngsters are ready for longer treks. Some need to be stimulated a bit more to not get bored on 18 day outings. Take your time and be ready to take a day off here or there! They call that a "zero" as in zero mileage day. Mix up the trek! Keep everyone interested. Listen to the members in your party. Feel for where they are at. That's one of your goals! One of my tactics is to informally teach things at a simple level related to botany, geology, trail history, etc. Get your minds and bodies off hiking for a day here and there! Possibly, take a "zero' in Mammoth Lakes off trail, at Vermillion Valley Resort, and/or Muir Trail Ranch, etc. Take along cameras and possibly small UL fishing equipment. Soak in one of the hot springs near the JMT, do laundry, take showers, possibly go for a swim, eat at a restaurant, etc.

    Is the 18 days alloted because that's all the time you have or can that time be extended? Here's why I ask. If you need an extra couple of days Rangers are usually flexible. Thay are not usually hard ases. They will let you summit Whitney IF they do happen to examine your permit.

    Trekking poles, when usd properly, can take some stress off bodies.

    I'm not getting any alarms. But different folks are ready for 18 day length hikes and some are not.

    I don't care what anyone might tell you, snow levels on the JMT in Aug, even this yr, is not going to be an issue!

    If you can contact Helmuth Fishmonger, I know he is not set up for PM's though here on WB, he has hiked the JMT with his kids. He can offer some solid hiking with kids and a woman advice.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    220 miles of JMT 18 days alloted time. That's about an avg of 12 MPD everyday for 18 days straight.

    Understand you and everyone in your party is making a leap from 3 day outings to now an 18 day outing. You are hiking with a woman and girl. Making some judgements but they don't typically like bugs, dirt, etc.


    wow.

    I'm sure there are lots of women and girls (god forbid) out there who could outhike you.



    In my experience hiking with 8-13 y/o girls, they're more capable than you expect. My group could probably pull off 12 mile days, but they'd def. want a zero day here and there.

    Sounds like your daughter already has some good trips under her belt. You know her capabilities etc the best.

  4. #4

    Default

    Since you're starting with a huge uphill. (the first 2 or 3 days?)
    I'd concentrate on getting to Toulumme and possible taking at least a half day off and maybe a full there and re-evaluate.
    Or maybe in Red's Meadow. a day or two later.
    Break up the trip a little.
    it's a huge endeavor for an 11 year old and she may come away from it all hating backpacking if you are not careful here IMO.
    I don't envy the problems you are going to have to solve on this trip as you yourself know are most likely going to happen. Mostly people slightly ticked off with the physical stress that you might find enjoyable. It's not for everyone of course.
    BUt then again, it is the best hiking in the lower 48 and the raw beauty just might compensate for all the negative vibes from the huge climb you have to start out with.
    Try to keep that climb fun somehow and don't let them get discouraged.
    Maybe reward their efforts at Tuolloume with a night in a cabin or hotel of some kind with a good restaurant if you can afford it.
    Then start again, in shape, acclimated, and ready for the rest of the trip.
    Good luck, sorry to rant and get carried away but, i think you will have to be on your toes to make this long trip successful for all.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    60
    Posts
    7,937
    Images
    296

    Default

    We took our daughter on 2-3 week hikes when she was 10, 11, and 12. They were on the Southern AT, which meant we had a lot more support, resupply, and bailout options. But anyway I do have some experience with this.

    If you start with 5 days at 8 miles per day, that's 40 miles. That leaves you 180 miles to do in 13 days, which is ~13 miles per day. That's not terrible. But....

    The biggest red flag that jumps at me is that your schedule doesn't provide much time for a couple of zero days. I like to take one zero for every six days of hiking, and I would plan to be able to take more with a very young hiker. With an 18 day schedule, any short or zero days that you take will just increase the daily mileage required for the hiking days.

    This has the potential to be an awesome hike. Just be flexible about the planning and the execution -- and the finish line. My worst tendency as a hiker dad is to set a goal for the day (or the hike) and try to stick to that goal no matter what. That sort of thing motivates me when I am solo, but with my family it tends to turn into a death march. Not fun.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6

    Default

    Too much mileage for days spent. Relax your pace, take time off here and there and enjoy the sites. If you stop and snack everytime you have an incredible view....you will gain weight and only make about 30 miles LOL...just take your time, your daughter can probably hike twice as hard as you think she can but that is not the point here...the point is how much fun she will have. IMO, I would adjust the mileage to make her trip as good as it could be. As Fiddlehead stated, don't make her hate backpacking just because of the pace.

    geek

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_Slo View Post


    wow.

    I'm sure there are lots of women and girls (god forbid) out there who could outhike you.

    yeah, my daughter probably outhiked him at age 10

  8. #8

    Default

    Late august is going to be safe, with weather either perfect or just a little chilly at night, depending on the general trends. Your pace is probably fine. The JMT isn't difficult - it's a horse trail. You barely feel the incline. Elevation is the only real issue and if you take some time up front to acclimate (hang in Tuolumne Meadows, or at Reds Meadow, or at Cottonwood Meadows campgrounds for 2-3 days doing warmup hikes), you won't really notice the elevation much, especially when heading southbound like 85% of the rest of the JMT hikers.

    My kids have done 20+ mile days at 11 years old, and usually average 15-16 miles per day on the JMT. They did the big distances over the big passes such as Forester. They aren't special, they carried big packs for their size, and at best they were motivated by the big burgers waiting at the end of the trail. Kids are amazing at this, and just because you don't see many of them on the JMT, you shouldn't think they aren't capable to do these things.

    Check out the info I have on my web site about the JMT hikes wiht my kids http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/outdoor/M...index2010.html

    We're heading out again in late July to do a variation of the Sierra High Route (the are 13 now and looking for something a little more challenging than the JMT - teenagers can be so "been there done that" )

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-07-2011
    Location
    United States
    Age
    59
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Wow - what a wonderful mixture of encouragement and real world advice. Thanks all!

    I hear you all re distance and timing. I absolutely want to leave the trail with my daughter still loving hiking. Although this will be my first JMT, I'm not (too!) invested in completing it. My sister has done long hikes, so I'm not too worried about her (she's a school teacher and incredibly organized and motivated). And she has heaps of experience with kids this age, which I hope to leverage - though the Aunt-niece relationship will play in there too :-).

    We have some buffer - we could extend up to 5 days if need be. Knowing that the rangers are unlikely to kick us off Whitney for being late is a huge relief -- completing the entire distance and summitting is a huge part of this for my daughter (something about bragging rights <g>).

    So, I'll pencil in a zero day for Vermillion, and we'll take our time getting to Toulumne and not worry too much about the mileage or lingering there. We have an extra night in the valley to start with, to hopefully kick off acclimation and we'll re-supply at Toulumne to keep pack weight down while getting up the hill.

    Thanks all for the links and Helmuth for your encouragement. Yes, I was amazed at what she did last summer. It blew me away how she breezed over New Army pass (esp after some of the complaining on the way up to Muir Lakes the day before, lol) and then doing that long day from Soldier Lake back out to Horsecamp via Cottenwood pass was amazing. I hope(!) that if we take it slow to start with, that her youth and enthusiasm will adapt her far faster than miles of pre-prep walks could, and I expect that by the end she'll be leaving me in the dust! (Which will be when I start putting more weight in her pack, heh heh).

    Keep the advice and encouragement coming! I'll share this thread with the crew - only 2 months before we get started and I can hardly wait!!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-07-2011
    Location
    United States
    Age
    59
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Helmuth, wow, I'm nowhere near done browsing through your site, but what a great source of information and inspiration! I'm encouraged by the many similar gear decisions - though still stunned by the mileage!

    Did the SPOT work out well for you? That's a non-negotiable add-on from my wife -- and smart too I agree. Did you use the GPS addon? She'd like us to be able to text daily updates (other than the canned "We're ok" button) and I understand the GPS-Spot combo allows that. Is that what you had? Was battery life ok?

    thx!

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmtnewb View Post
    Helmuth, wow, I'm nowhere near done browsing through your site, but what a great source of information and inspiration! I'm encouraged by the many similar gear decisions - though still stunned by the mileage!

    Did the SPOT work out well for you? That's a non-negotiable add-on from my wife -- and smart too I agree. Did you use the GPS addon? She'd like us to be able to text daily updates (other than the canned "We're ok" button) and I understand the GPS-Spot combo allows that. Is that what you had? Was battery life ok?

    thx!

    Spot worked to keep mom happy. We just had the tracking option and turned that on every day. Left a decent online track record for the outside to see what we were up to. Never pressed the OK button, and you don't need a GPS for that. It has it's own GPS. We used the GPS to record out tracks and to do some motivation games to reach milestones, etc. Never really use it for the mapping, because it is virutally impossible for me to get lost on a trail I have done more than a dozen times.

    About the only reason I'd bring a SPOT is the tracking and to calm down people at home, because I heard too much about screwups in their relay of location info to Search and Rescue to rely on a rescue actually happening. I realy want more than the one-way only communication without any feedback on your end that a message is being sent or received. My daughter fainted once while sitting down on a rock, and I just caught her from hitting something hard. That's when I REALLY would have liked to talk to a nurse to find out if it's just dehydration or if there's other stuff I should check for.

    You don't hit the 911 button for anything but life threatening situations, so what do you do with the in-between stuff? Sometimes a call to a doctor can answer questions you may have and save the trip. Therefore I am going to a sat phone as soon as I can make up my mind between Iridium and the new Inmersat option. I'll still bring the SPOT as long as I have a contract for it, but I won't renew next year.

    If you need to motivate the kids - check the book links on blurb below - got a reasonably priced downsized version of the big book we made in 2009 listed there:

    paperback http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2115826

    $$ big hardcover version http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1047557

    You can also just page through them online, except they make the preview so small, you can't readn anything but the headlines. Not really an essential addtion to the info you can get on my web site. In fact, if you look at the photo gralleries, you probably get most of the information contained in the books. I'm actually about to make a 2010 book in the coming weeks, again, mosty as a motivator for the kids. The are pretty proud of what they did once they hold a book in their hands that is about their adventure. Grat bragging material to take to a show and tell at school

    Note that a girl named Sierra hiked the JMT last summer. She celebrated her 7th birthday at Evolution Lake with us. We had a hard time keeping up with her after the Muir Ranch resupply made our packs heavy.

    this is her crossing mono creek wtih her mom


  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmtnewb View Post
    Knowing that the rangers are unlikely to kick us off Whitney for being late is a huge relief
    even if they did - where are they gonna send you but down the trail you're going to hike anyway?

    Permits issued in Yosemite are so vague, you can pretty much go anywhere with them. It states entry trailhead (the one and only thing they really care about), entry date, exit trailhead, anticipated exit date. You can be early and late, and where you go between the two trailheads is totally up to you. Unlike Inyo rangers, they don't seem to want to know your planned route.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-28-2008
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Age
    70
    Posts
    4,907

    Default

    Did the Wonderland Trail with my daughter at barely 10 and small, with a 20 lb pack. At a leisurely pace she had plenty of energy at each days end. Have fun, Take pictures, report back.

    FB
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  15. #15
    Saw Man tuswm's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-14-2008
    Location
    Philly/ OC MD
    Age
    42
    Posts
    776
    Images
    25

    Default

    I just wanted to comment that it looks like at least for the first half of the trail there is plenty of exit points. By half way you will have a good feel for everyones level of enjoyment.
    "you cant grow old if you never grow up" ~TUswm

  16. #16
    Hike smarter, not harder.
    Join Date
    10-01-2008
    Location
    Midland, TX
    Age
    64
    Posts
    2,262

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tuswm View Post
    I just wanted to comment that it looks like at least for the first half of the trail there is plenty of exit points. By half way you will have a good feel for everyones level of enjoyment.
    +1. Hike from exit point to exit point, and re-evaluate. Just be prudent.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  17. #17

    Default

    Absolutely Captain Slo. Females can do just about everything a male can. ABSOLUTLY, hiking capabilities ARE NOT determined by gender! I get outhiked by many woman and even some very young girls. I LONG ago learned when a skinny Pippy Long Stockings looking 12 yr old girl with blazing red hair in pigtails and knee high rainbow colored stockings bebopped by me down the trail like I was standing still, I was not, nor will ever be the fastest hiker nor were hiking capabilities stictly determined by age or gender! I don't have a problem with people, young or old, male or female, going UL or going weighted down with everything from the kitchen with a lit cigarette clenched between their teeth, hiking faster or slower than me or simply out hiking me. I admit I'm not the fastest hiker and I'm not trying to be that! Yeah, Helmuth your 10 old daughter might outhike me. So what! That does not bother me. Let me be crystal clear, I DO NOT HIKE with a competion or male chauvinistic based mindset. INDEED, one of my goals in hiking is to NOT hike out of or with an ego!

    My comment was not competion or sexist based. I REALLY was not making my comment about hiking with a woman and 11 yr old from a male chauvinistic pt of view. At the heart of that comment, if you will accept it, and not be offended, is the pt that the trip leader, who ever that may be, male or female, it's my opinion that the trip leader, and in this case it seems Jmtnewb is the trip leader, should be sensitive to the needs, abilities, desires, experience level and experiences of everyone in the hiking party. Examine the substance of my comment. Don't take what I was attempting to convey the wrong way!

    BTW, it's not just males or adults who can entertain that competion driven hiking mindset or have HUGE hiking egos. Females and adolescents can adopt that hiking attitude too! I've witnessed it many times! AND, sometimes, it's those who are quick to finger pt who have ego issues themselves!

    Let's move on!

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    At a leisurely pace she had plenty of energy at each days end.
    day's end energy:

    remember the following things:

    2008 - following a nasty day with 6" of hail and life-threatening temps, they both set up a "bowling alley" at 9800 feet and did some glacier polish boulder bowling between marmots for a few hours

    2008 as well - chasing dogs and playing resupply bucket frisbee at the Muir Ranch

    2010 - with the 6 year old hiker, doing stretching and other gym exercise moves they remembered from back home. Adults were dead, kids kept bouncing around for hours!

    add ot that stuff like collecting shiny rocks, rusty horse shoes, and oversized pine cones, carving pencil hoders at camp, fly fishing, etc - they never stop moving. Only mention we are at legal fire altitude and my son will build a bonfire in half an hour. Every time I head out on my own, I really miss their extra-curricular activities. We adults are too darn focused. Gotta learn to play again.

  19. #19

    Default

    Good advice being given!

    I absolutely want to leave the trail with my daughter still loving hiking. - Jmtnewb

    This is the goal for not only your daughter but for everyone in your hiking party, including yourself! Always keep it in mind as you plan the hike and execute it! Keep it fun for everyone! I advse you connect the hike with nature and the wilderness and eliciting a greater appreciation, knowledge, and respect of it! Doing this for people at a young age will provide benefits to them throughout their lives!

    As everyone is saying, break up the consecutive days of hiking stretches by doing something where your trip is not so focused on MPD/boots on the ground thinking! Sometimes trips need that breath of fresh air where the goal of the day is not centered around MPD but when the main goal is to just have fun, bask, rest, explore, seek adventure, catch a fish, take pictures, become a better photgrapher, converse with people outside your hiking party, look at plants, engage in cloud formation surveys, watch the birds and bears frolic, pehaps a fox too, etc! But, at the same time be sensitive that some in your party may enjoy hiking and hiking and hiking day after day after day.

    I REALLY like what SLY, a Triple Crowner thru-hiker, stated here on WB, so accurately, which was obviously gained with an enormous amount of thru-hiking and insightful LIFE experiences, "thru-hiking is not just about hiking!" That statement is HUGE! It can lead to greater creativity and inspiration, IF YOU LET IT!

    I'm actually about to make a 2010 book in the coming weeks, again, mosty as a motivator for the kids. The are pretty proud of what they did once they hold a book in their hands that is about their adventure. Great bragging material to take to a show and tell at school - Helmuth

    I like the idea of a small book for kids, and perhaps adults will enjoy it too!, with lots of colorful pics, showing and describing their trail adventures. GREAT IDEA!

    That pic of Sierra on her mom's back is priceless!

    The VVR or MTR experience can be a real breath of fresh air on a JMT thru-hike. I've only stopped at MTR twice but have been to VVR 5-6 times. Here's what I like about it and I think all in your party might apprecate. You hike a short spur trail to the Lake Edison shoreline from the JMT tread. You meet up with a ferry(usually a pontoon boat) that whisks you across the lake, which is quite a change from that boots on the ground mentality that develops on a hike. You might see some Bald Eagles or Ospreys on your boat ride. Do you think that may be exciting for everyone in your hiking group! You get to VVR, where you can resupply by buying food(can be pricey!) or picking up a shipped ressupply package. You, and everyone in your party, has the opportunity to shower, do laundry, sit around, check gear, check themselves, re-group, check the internet( be careful though it's pricey!, IMO), make a ph call(also can be pricey!), sleep on a cot in a big canvas tent erected on wooden platforms, make a campfire, fish, rent a boat to take out on the lake, eat some fresh REAL(not dehydrated or freze dried) well prepared(there's a real chef/cook on staff) hiker sized portion meals, watch TV, get a ride down to Mono Hot Springs for a well deserved soak(MHS also has a USPO where you could have sent a resupply package), talk to others outside your party that are vacationers, hikers, and fisherman, etc. The first night is free in the canvas tents to JMT thru-hikers! but spots in the canvas tents are not guaranteed. Aug can get busy. It's my guess if you called ahead of time and explained your situation and that you were with your 11 yr old daughter Jim would try to accomodate you in any way he could! Eat a huge b-fast before taking the ferry back to the JMT in prep for the climb over Bear Mountain.

    There are also hot springs at/very near MTR. Some are free. I think some of the hot springs you need to be staying at MTR to use. Although I think Mono has the better hot springs. There's also a warmish spring fed pond tucked away into a willow grove near MTR. Depending on how you arrange your hike stopping at MTR might make for a quicker in and out resupply. It's within a very short walk of the JMT proper or you can take a slightly alternate JMT route to resuply there. You can ship a resupply bucket there. Assuming you could get reservations at MTR I think MTR would probably provide less of that "fun" factor though.

    Enjoy the JMT! It's world class GREAT!

  20. #20

    Default

    Lots of fun to be had on that trail:

    bowling at age 10, somewhere below Donohue Pass



    baking mountain no-bake cookies with our neighbors at Reds Meadow campground - yummie



    http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/outdoor/g...008_yummie.jpg

    Rainy day layover at Reds - goofing off all day age 10


    get your butt wet during river crossings



    build fires at 8999 feet sharp:




    gummi bears as daily snack, what kid could resist that?

    Bucket lid frisbee at the Ranch



    meeting Sally:



    Chasing trout in Evolution Lake



    coolest place for a 10 year old to wake up at:



    and to have a hot chocolate...



    Then they go chasing frogs



    then there's the always popular snowball fight in July



    and nothing beats a day in the pool at the Dow at the end of a long journey



    that was their first big mountain hike, and they did come back. In fact. they were the ones who suggested we go for a JMT yo-yo at age 11...

    didn't ever finish the yo-yo, but we had a great time each year we did attempt it.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •