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JMT in 18?
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Mel sez take longer
“... Or only do part. Two reasonably fit office jockey brothers in their 50's are planning the JMT in 18 days. Younger and buffer of the two says "let's shoot to do the whole magilla, and if we don't go all the way, we don't." Older and less experienced thinks "let's do a certainly doable half or third in 18 days so there's fun and time to enjoy for sure." Opinions?”
“In 1990 I did the JMT in 17 days. It wasn't that difficult. The trail is only 211 miles. Do the math. I started early in the morning and was usually done hiking by about 2 in the afternoon -- lots of time to play (or hole up during thunderstorms). The trail itself is easy, it's only the altitude that can slow you down, especially the first couple of days. If you aren't sure, why not start at Tuolemne Meadows, cutting off two days of hiking? The trail through Yosemite was nice, past gorgeous waterfalls, granite spires, green meadows, etc. But you could do that another time. You have 7 or 8 months to get in really good shape, so why not go for it?”
“SnowNymph hikes almost every weekend of the year and her and Snow Dude took an enjoyable 30 days to complete the trail.
I recently read a trip report on the Yahoo Sierra Scrambles Club about a gal who ran the trail in 7 days but she had support and only carried a pack from Vermilion V.R. to Kearsarge trail junction.
The altitude can become a factor but you never know.
Take a little more time and enjoy it more... would be my suggestion.
Take plenty of film (or smart media)The trail passes through some breath taking country!!!”
“Math is easy.
Snow storms in July, torrential rains in August, blown out shoes after one week, bears get your food - yeah, that too.
What happens when you schedule your ride for the 18th day, and you can't get out until the 21st?
Ask Reno to hold the airplane for you?”
“Hahahahaha.Hold the plane thats a good one.....:)”
Question the honest advice of the Sierra Seer?
Doubtest thou mine trail advice?
A bear shall eatest thou, forthwith!”
“It's not as bad as mel makes it to be! I hiked from Tolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass on a section of the PCT last summer carrying my weight and loved it. She did the same section with pack animals and complained about how horrable a section it was later in the season.
For sure, your attitude will determine the outcome of your journey!
I read a trip report from a guy who solo hiked the JMT in 14 days with only 1 resuply. He was going ultralight and had a good report.”
Orig. Poster Checks Back In ...
“Interesting few responses. My brother caught them too and I believe we will stick with our plan to do the whole deal in 18. However, at the core of Mel's suggestions of dire possibilities is the wisdom of having contingency plans in place. Take the issue of protecting food from bears. There are emotionally-held experiences recounted here and elsewhere that say (a) bears are no problem if you camp safe, forget cannisters, string up your food, or (b) bears can be a problem but not if you are willing the chase them off, or (c) there are bears everywhere omigod no one is safe we'll all be robbed blind and starve, you have to put everything in cannisters, even when it's cloudy! And other hard-held opinions galore, ad infinitum. So, are we silly suburban and small town Willies going to take off on the JMT with NO cannisters? I don't think so! It's a matter of "being prepared." Apologies to every Boy Scout that ever lived. I believe the yet unattended-to aspect of our planning is going to be to respond to the unanswered questions that Mel alluded to ("what are you going to do if at the midpoint you know you can't make Whitney in 18?" or words to that effect.) As much as my dear bro might take having detailed contingency plans in place as a sign that "we don't really intend to make it," I think it will be very important to know in detail where we (or I) plan to come down off the trail if it is evident at whatever point that we can only do 3/4 of the JMT in 18, and a really serious fallback position re what if we can only do half of it in 18, or something like that. We must be AS familiar with those options as we are prepared for those summer snowstorms and bears, etc. As for holding the plane in Reno, our go-home plans need to be made accordingly and flexibly, too. Barring a real emergency, I need to be in go-home commercial travel mode on the 20th day. Well, enough about what I think, rank novice that I am. What do YOU think about what I think???”
By George, he's got it!
“I think you're thinking pretty straight. Flexibility is always key to enjoying a hike. Things happen. Not always, but if you aren't prepared to deal with them you can really wreck a good trip. The JMT is a wilderness, but there are a fair number of trails out if you need them. And the side trails may be as interesting as the one you planned. (We had to bail in the San Juans in Colorado when my husband developed Pulmonary Edema from the altitude. Fortunately, we had kept the map that showed side trails out, and were able to descend when it became necessary. The trail was really a nice one, with a rock arch on it. We were sorry to have to quit, but had to accept reality. Oddly enough, he never had altitude problems again.)
Also, two years ago one of the NF's was requiring bear cannisters of all JMT hikers. While there are lots of bear boxes in the southern part of the trail, carrying a canister gives you more flexibility in your campsites, which can be really good on a crowded trail like the JMT.”
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