On the trail my dinners were mostly based on ramen, instant mashed potatoes and instant stuffing. REAL bacon pieces were one of my treats as were Jelly Belly.
Critical to a successful hike is footwear and foot management.
What worked best for me in the California dry heat was trail runners and Injiji toe socks. In fact, I left my usual Merrell Moabs in Mammoth after the first 5 days.
I cleaned and cooled my feet as often as possible during the day.
Mid-day I’d stop for about an hour to use solar power to recharge my devices.
In the Sierra Nevada there are plenty of opportunities to wild camp. Set up your tent anywhere not too close to water. … Unless it’s posted.
Late afternoon we had set up our tents … before noticing this sign.
It’s EASY to find fantastic places to tent. Actually.
Many on the JMT stick to the trail, unwilling to miss even a single official step. Not me.
I took 4 side trips:
Reds – Thousand Island lake on the PCT
southern Red Cone from Lower Crater Meadow junction
Goodale Trail to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR) because the boat wasn’t running
VERMILLION VALLEY RESORT (VVR)
On past hikes I’d never made the famed side trip to VVR.
On arrival, the new owners welcome you warmly and offer a free cold beer.
I’m really glad I did VVR this time, taking a ZERO miles recovery day. I met more people there than the rest of the days combined. Found myself at the same table with PhD students and veteran thru hikers.
I stayed for the Saturday night all-you-can-eat barbecue. $26.
Due to drought and low snow fall the previous winter, governments had held back water from Lake Thomas Edison. When this happens, the ferry can’t shuttle hikers to VVR. It’s a half day extra walking.
For me it was well worth the side trip.
I skipped the Ranch.
SUNSET, NIGHT SKY & SUNRISE
Highlights for one and all. Yet I’m disappointed I didn’t take more photos. I should have woken up more often to see the Milky Way.
The story of the southern JMT is climbing a high pass every day.
I enjoyed it. By Seldon I was feeling fit. My feet were great. In fact, I was in the BEST physical shape for hiking at the end of 19 days. It would have seemed EASY to hike back north.
Weather was good — but cold and windy when I reached famed Muir Pass hut.
Navigation is easy on the John Muir trail with most of the popular hiking apps.
I used Guthook and the free Maps.me app.
Another I really appreciated is the free PeakFinder app. You must download the regional data when online as there’s very little service on the JMT.
Of many, many impressive peaks en route — including Whitney — my favourite was Fin Dome.
BOOKS & WHITNEY
The south gets higher and bleaker. I re-read DUNE on this section as it was appropriate to the environment. Hiking alone I was able to finish quite a few audio books, in fact.
Here’s the final push to the top of Whitney.
I was briefly the highest person in the lower 48.
Since the weather was good, I decided to have dinner atop the peak. Stay for sunset. It was very hazy.
A highlight, however, was walking down to Trail Camp on the far side of the mountain by headlamp and moonlight. My only night hiking of the trip.
Next morning I was up for dawn to enjoy my final morning on the John Muir Trail.
Finally down at Portal, we celebrated with the traditional burger and fries. Relived highlights with hikers whom I’d been walking with in parallel for many days.
HIKING CLOTHES Soffe Running shorts #2 (as underwear) Running Room 7″ perforated run shorts red Nike quick dry t-shirt waterproof stuff sack Buff #2 long brim ball cap fingerless gloves
OUTER LAYERS Columbia OutDry rain jacket Helly Hansen puffy jacket Red L & 3L ultra-sil dry bag Helly Hansen puffy jacket Blue M & 2L ultra-sil dry bag
TOILETRIES in dry bag ASA and TUMs vitamins toilet paper TP (Coughlin x2)& alcohol gel sunscreen in ziplock 2 Imodium tablets
HIP PACK 1 credit card CAN cash $500 tiny Swiss Army knife hand Sanitizer – 1 oz bottle prescriptions bandaids Leukotape (blisters) duct tape water purification tablets (Acquatabs) toothbrush & toothpaste sunglass clip-on, flip-up toothpicks Health Insurance card chewing cloves National Parks Pass zip ties lens cloth pen & paper