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#32335 - 07/24/13 10:08 AM JMT Pre-Trip Report
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1548
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I am starting this report pre-trip for a couple of reasons. I hope to write this up at length , and want to get in the rhythm of reporting. Also, would like to meet up with any of you who may be on the MWMT around the 26 of August, or even on the JMT between Aug 5 and 26. So just the basics first. Starting at Happy Isles August 5, with an easy day one, only to Little Yos Valley the first night, then building mileage from there. Strategy is to hit the passes early each day, camping each night near the base of the next climb. Resup at Tuolumne, Red's and MTR, also building pack weight.

Back story here is that I have been working up to this for 49 years, ever since I got snowed out at Trail Camp in the freak storm of late August, 1964. This shot is that storm, different location, but the only current documentation of the weather event I can find. Imagine TC looking like that a month from now, but it did in '64. I have been back several times, and still haven't managed to get down the other side of Trail Crest, even with 2 summits. 2011 HST hike got stopped below Kaweah Gap, by late snow.

Next installment: how it took 50 years for the idea of this trip to dawn. After that: Planes, Trains and No automobiles: Doing the JMT coast to coast, portal to Portal to portal, all on public transportation.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#32345 - 07/24/13 05:14 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
great plan - maybe we'll see you out there when we are heading northbound. We will do a yo-yo from Tuolumne to the Portal and back to Tuolumne, mostly on the JMT and starting August 2nd, finishing back in the north around August 27 - no public transportation needed between start and finish on our route.

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#32357 - 07/24/13 10:25 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1548
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I'll keep an eye out for you. I'm guessing somewhere around Muir Pass, the 19th or so? I am the old guy with the Kelty Serac flying a green ribbon.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#32374 - 07/25/13 12:14 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
look for a guy with a big blue Whitney 95 pack and a teenager with a smallish 48 liter Osprey pack, both wearing red La Sportiva Trango GTX boots. I usually have a big fat Nikon DSLR hanging over my shoulder.

We start out a little slower to make sure we're firing on all cylinders before we get up to regular daily 20-25 mile speed, so we're not going to be around Muir Pass this early.

right now this is the northbound plan around that date, maybe a day faster than this

8-19 Bighorn Plateau - Junction Pass - back to JMT at Vidette
8-20 Vidette to Twin Lakes south of Pinchot
8-21 Pinchot, Mather and possibly to Potluck Pass (High Route after Palisade Lakes)

If you're on Muir Pass on the 19th, somewhere around Mather may be the likely point where our paths cross.

Kelty Serac should be unique enough to spot you smile
_________________________
My Stuff on Flickr

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#32401 - 07/26/13 09:52 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1548
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I'll look for you there. smile
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#32477 - 07/29/13 09:36 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: saltydog]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1548
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
At 14, I am told I was pretty mature. That is not to say, however, that I was not just as oblivious as the next adolescent, I just hid it better. One thing that was lost in the fog of those years was the John Muir Trail. Oh I had heard a lot about it: I even started out to do the southern 15 miles or so of it, in late August of 1964. An early, freak snowstorm cut that trip short at Trail Camp. At that point, of course, Whitney was the immediate focus, and my dominating image of that trip, and the Sierra for years to come. I could see Whitney from the trail, from the road back to Lone Pine, and in my mind all the way back home to Connecticut, and up to the recent past.

The leader of that aborted trip, Bernard Clayton, was later a food writer of some renown, and at the time was my introduction to John Muir. All through the three days we spent together, he regaled the group with his intimate knowledge of Muir's writings, and seemed to have a Muir quote for just about any occasion, including such moments as our observation of a water ouzle at Trailside Meadow. By the end of even this short trip, I was fascinated with two things about the Sierra: Mt Whitney and John Muir.

Three years later, I summitted Whitney with my parents. I am sure I read all the trail signs, including the enamel plate at the top, but I have no recollection of any realization that I had just done the first two miles of the JMT.

It wasn't till years later that this trail, named after my chosen hero, emerged from the fog. In 1970 or so, I went along on trip with some college friends, as it turned out, to Little Yosemite Valley. It was not until we got to Happy Isles, and I read the TH sign there that I put two and two hundred together. Epiphany! So that's where it goes! The storied John Muir Trail runs from right here to my other favorite place in the world, Mt Whitney.

The JMT immediately became my Road Not Taken, as Robert Frost warned:

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.


Well, indeed, way did lead on to way, and I never did get back to the JMT, until two years ago, when I finally realized that if I didn't do something soon, I would never come back, and lest

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:


I would have to act.

Except that I took the road more travelled by, and am not now telling this with a sigh, but with a whoop: I am going back, and starting the JMT, SoBo from Happy Isles, a week from today.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#32555 - 08/02/13 02:40 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: saltydog]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1548
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I am doing this trip all on public transportation, portal to portal. As many modes in the mix as I can come up with. Picking up the local bus, Cape Cod RTA right outside my door, connecting with the (I kid you not) Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company bus to Boston. Jet Blue to SFO, Super Shuttle to the CalTrain Station in The City. Then the Amtrak Bus Train Bus to Emeryville, Merced and Yosemite Visitor Center. Then 220 miles or so on foot to Whitney Portal, hitch to Lone Pine, followed by ESTA to Reno, Amtrak (all train this time) back to Boston, and the aforementioned bus lines back to my front door.

This will be my first trip in forty-five years or so that didn't involve may own private car at some point, at least a rental. It will be interesting to see if I can actually make all these connections without resorting to a friend's car at some point. It seems like public transportation ought to be easier than this.

The complexity of getting around the country also brings back to me to me the significance of traveling some five or six thousand miles by machine in order to walk a couple of hundred. The trail is less than 5% of the trip by that measure, although it is 80 percent of the time and 99 percent of the reason.

Back next month, with a report on the 99 percent.

Peace out

Dog
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#32558 - 08/02/13 08:35 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Go Salty, go! We'll be watching your SPOT for the fun.

I hope the trip goes perfectly smoothly. Obviously you have been planning this for a long time. I don't think there is any way around it when the complexities of transportation come up. It's just the nature of time schedules, and making sure you have the information at hand that you need to catch the next mode to your next destination.

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#32586 - 08/05/13 12:17 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Saltydog is on his way!

Spot map shows him near Clark Point above Vernal Fall.

With the map, it is best to hover your mouse pointer over the "Map" button in the upper-right corner, and click the "Terrain" checkbox. It shows the shaded relief that makes it easier to view the mountainous layout, and the JMT shows up, too.

Edit Wed, Aug 7: He's getting a burger at Tuolumne Meadows now.


Edited by Steve C (08/07/13 04:36 PM)

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#32634 - 08/08/13 12:12 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
He's leaving Tuolumne Meadows. I think he spent several hours at the store this morning. I hope he didn't have any trouble getting supplies.

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#32640 - 08/08/13 05:01 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C


Edit Wed, Aug 7: He's getting a burger at Tuolumne Meadows now.


Bee sure to leave out reports that he is entering the restroom sick
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#32645 - 08/08/13 08:59 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Bee]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 989
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
He should have better views than we had in the Donahue to Mammoth area. last week we could not see Banner or Ritter, but the Shaver lake fire is dwindling. We had clear skies south of Mammoth on our South Lake to Onion Valley week with 4 guys, then just finished a 2-nighter on the North Lake to South Lake via Lamarck col. Clear skies, no bugs, no bears, no smoke. I hope Peter has it the same.
Harvey....resting in Bishop.

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#32654 - 08/09/13 03:08 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Saltydog is on day 5, and crossed Donohue pass, leaving Yosemite, and entering Inyo N.F. area.

From his SPOT map, it looks like he'll be at Thousand Island Lake this evening -- a really beautiful spot.

He apparently had phone service, and sent this picture to his family from the pass.


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#32683 - 08/11/13 12:33 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Steve C]
Blue Grouse Offline


Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 12
Loc: États-Unis
like!
SaltyDog is on Day 7, and made contact from Reds Meadow. Thus far, he has followed the itinerary he layed out, going about 10 miles/day on average. Salty reports weather has been great, though very cold at night (in 30's). No thunderstorms have come in his path thus far, though he has seen some from afar.

Salty reports most creek beds are bone dry, but creeks are strong and gushing where fed by Glaciers (which he met with mixed feelings; beautiful sight, water in abundance, but sad to know Glaciers are melting.) An example he gave of gushing creek is just above Lyle Forks Headwaters, where it is gushing like a normal season.

Salty had no problem receiving his resupply boxes that he mailed to himself at Tuolomne Meadows or at Red Meadows (though one at Red Meadows arrived a little beat up.) He says he found himself oversupplied with food, because he brought too much, and is eating less. So he donated some food to hikers resupply at Red Meadows.

Salty says the traveling community is really something, and revels in the camaraderie, and the sharing of conditions at that lake or this pass. Some special connections include Rocky and Annette from Seattle were at Red Meadows today, supporting their daughter, Marie, who is hiking the JMT (with friends) for the first time.

Also at or near Lyle Canyon a few days ago (Aug. 8), a hiker overtook Salty from behind, and called out, "Hey, are you flying your Freak Flag?," alluding to his neon green ribbon of that name that trails from his pack. This hiker is a woman who is a member of the Whitney Hikers Assoc., who goes by "Akichow." As the story goes, they ended up cutting Salty's freak flag in two, and Akichow is now flying her own Freak Flag. Salty thought Akichow would be at least a day ahead of him at this point. (Note another hiker near Nevada Falls on Day 1 called out, "Hey I recognise that flag," but whizzed by Salty Dog before Salty could catch whizzer's name.

Salty plans to push to Purple Lake tonight. Next resupply (and probably next communication) will be from Muir Trail Ranch on or around Day 12.

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#32684 - 08/11/13 12:50 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Blue Grouse]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for the update, Blue G! From his SPOT map, I can see he is on his way south of Reds Meadow, near Boundary Creek.

I spent the night near there once and found the creek water to be extremely salty. I had to go find a surface-water stream for drinkable water.

That's cool that people are recognizing his freak flag. ...If anyone wants one, I still have the spools of the stuff.

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#32709 - 08/13/13 08:20 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Blue Grouse]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 989
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Blue Grouse
like!
Salty reports weather has been great, though very cold at night (in 30's).


That is not very cold. We just returned from one of the warmest JMTs I can remember. All night temps were a warm 32-40. I can recall plenty of trips with temps as low as 18F and frozen water bottles multiple days, even in early August.

He will be fine, best thing to do is just get up and going and climb those passes even faster in the cool mornings.
Best wishes.

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#32711 - 08/13/13 09:58 AM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
It looks like he spent the night at Lake Virginia -- a pretty place.

Lake Virginia


It is perched on a plateau, and his hike will soon drop into "Tully Hole", which is just a descent into the Fish Creek canyon. It is quite a remote place -- the surprise comes when you see the big steel bridge that crosses Fish Creek.

______________________

(Pics from my 2010 hike of this section)

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#32715 - 08/13/13 12:14 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Steve C]
Blue Grouse Offline


Registered: 07/25/11
Posts: 12
Loc: États-Unis
Awesome pics, Steve! Thank you for sharing.

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#32743 - 08/15/13 12:17 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Blue Grouse]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Salty's on his way again. It looks like he spent yesterday loafing at VVR (Vermillion Valley Resort) at Edison Lake. I understand that place can be pretty comforting -- hot meals and showers, and a lot of other JMT hikers to trade stories.

Today, he's on his way up the Bear Creek trail, skipping the ferry ride back across Edison Lake.

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#32787 - 08/18/13 09:58 PM Re: JMT Pre-Trip Report [Re: Blue Grouse]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Yup, that was me. Knew that flag flying from his pack. He was actually carrying extra flagging in his pack, pulled it out and cut me a piece. We leapfrogged up to Donohue. This was a section hike for me, and I exited at Reds. Supercool to meet SD.

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