John Muir Trail Thru Hike 2011

I did it!!
211 miles, Yosemite to Whitney, 11 mountain passes, 19 days…
A life goal and dream realized…
Through hiking the John Muir Trail.
It was the most incredible adventure I have ever experienced.
And the hardest 19 days of my life.
I kept a trail journal at Trail Journals.com
Pictures are here…
And I will document the journey on my main web site in the coming weeks.

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JMT Hike 2010

Well, I just got back from my 95 mile solo John Muir Backpacking trip. What an experience. It was challenging physically, but so incredibly rewarding. The natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains cannot be captured in photos. The immense granite monoliths, the deep canyons and soaring mountain passes have to be experienced. I enjoyed the serenity and quiet, and at the same time really enjoyed talking to the fellow hikers I got to know on the trail. (Al and Richard, good luck with the remainder of the trail!)

I hiked Southbound, from Yosemite Valley to Vermillion Valley Ranch. I averaged 10 miles a day, which is considered a rather sedate pace by thru hikers, but worked just fine for me. Some of the trail friends I met (Sean and Pipi) were doing 30 miles a day!

I did two resupplies. I mailed supplies to Toloumne Meadow and Reds Meadow Resort. Both were shipped successfully and were waiting for me when I arrived. Supplies can be purchased at both Toloumne and Reds, but some items were not in stock due to the late date in the season.

I will write up a full trip report and post it to my main web site, but for now some of the pictures and videos can be seen here.

Lake Virginia

Donohue Pass

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Tarptent Moment

Just got my new Tarptent. Called the ‘Moment’. Weighs 28 oz, fully enclosed shelter that is half the weight of my double wall tent. I like the fact that it has a free standing option, is extremely easy to setup, and is light! I will give this tent a trial run next weekend on the Superior Hiking Trail, and then a good test on my JMT hike this summer.

Moment

Tarptent Moment

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John Muir Trail

JMT

John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail (JMT) has called to me for over 30 years. I first heard about the trail when I was preparing for a 5 day hike in Kings Canyon National Park in 1979. The JMT is 211 miles long, starts at Yosemite National Park (4000 ft elevation) and ends at the top of Mount Whitney (14,195 ft). Along the way it crosses ten additional passes, all but one above 10,000 ft high. I felt a sense of awe and wonder anytime I thought about this trail. I had hiked in the Sierra Nevada’s enough to know that the trail would be indescribably beautiful. I also felt a sense of loss at the same time. I believed that it was beyond my ability to hike this trail.

Somehow, after hiking the Rae Lakes Loop with my kids in 2009, the JMT changed from a dream to a goal. I’m not sure at what point I realized I was actually starting to think in terms of actually doing this hike, but I found myself researching re-supply points, the logistics of getting to and from the trailheads, and reading journals of others who had completed this trail. I think completing the Rae Lakes Loop trail gave me more confidence in my ability to hike difficult trails. I now understand the physical shape I need to be in to not just DO the trail, but actually enjoy the journey. I am now at a place in my life where I can take the time off from work, my kids are grown, and my wife is incredibly supportive!

I don’t have any illusions about this endeavor. A significant percentage of folks striving to complete the JMT do not finish. The trail is difficult. I have never backpacked longer than 5 days at stretch, and do not know how I will respond to the challenges of a multi-week hike.

So… I set a goal for 2010 of hiking the first 100 miles of the trail. This section is ‘easier’ than the remainder of the trail, has more options for getting off the trail if needed, and will allow me to better understand my own capabilities. A perfect 10 day trip to get a ‘taste’ of the JMT and gauge my readiness for a full JMT hike!

The training has begun!!!

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Rae Lakes Loop

In July, Revan, Elena and I did a 50 mile backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park. We did the Rae Lakes Loop trail over 5 days. The trip was fun, physically challenging, and the backcountry was absolutely beautiful. If you ever get a chance to do this trip, I highly recommend it. I would suggest planning your trip in August or September though. The mosquitoes in early July were intense.

I did a detailed trip report on my main web site.

Sphinx Mountain in the background

Stunning views on Day 1

Revan, Elena and Randy

We made it! Exhausted but still smiling!

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Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for visiting. I hope you find the information on my site interesting and that it perhaps leads you to try one of these activities yourself!

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