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JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:01 am
by JWreno
Just finished a 17 day trip from Happy Isles to Whitney Portal. This was my 3rd full JMT and first full southbound. Southbound felt a bit like traveling with a herd. I kept seeing a lot of the same faces over and over, a few for the whole trip. Worst day of trip was Happy Isles to Sunrise High Camp. Much too hot that day and the water a bit sparse after the Merced river. Never had much problems with finding good water after that day.

Unlike 2011 when we hiked over snow on every pass, we only saw one shaded patch of snow within a few feet of the trail on the traverse from trail junction to Whitney Peak. We only had to take our shoes off at Evolution creek, all other bridge less crossing we used logs or rocks as needed.

The last day we started at a tarn above Guiter lake and made it to the Whitney Portal store for burgers and fries at 4PM. This was my 5 time on top of Whitney but first time down to Whitney Portal since 1999. I forgot how long it takes to drop all the altitude from the summit. A branch landed on my windshield during our trip and created a 18x12 inch spiderweb off cracks. Got an appointment at Bright Glass tomorrow to replace it.

I reserved a room in Bishop using my cell phone on the summit and we spent the night in Bishop after enjoying a very long shower. The next day was a pain because of 3 flagman stops on Hwy 120 in Yosemite. This was 6 total pauses to the valley and back. It took from 9AM until 2:30PM to get from the east entrance of the park to the backcountry parking lot in the valley and back again to the east entrance. Made it home to Reno in time to unload the car and take my son out for a well deserved belated birthday dinner. His birthday was the day we hiked from the Woods creek bridge to Vidette Meadows.

I took my Canon 6D and a 16-35mm f/4 IS lens. My wife took the Canon G1X. I greatly enjoyed the DSLR but probably won't take it on trips again that are more than about a week long.

I feel very fit right now and am grateful for the weight loss and wonderful experience. I never return from any other type of vacation feeling as physically refreshed. Don't have to go back to work until September 2nd and college football starts Friday night. Now I need to figure out how not to gain weight during football season.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:51 am
by maverick
Sound like a fun trip, messed up what happened to your windshield. :(
Will you be posting some photo's? How did you like the new 16-35, lots of
reviewers are really praising it?

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:59 pm
by JWreno
I like the lens a lot. I want to do another trip with it where the hiking goals and logistics are more modest. We tend to get up everyday at 5:30-6AM and get hiking before 7AM. We are usually in sleeping bags by 7PM. I kept the camera in the tent so I would be more likely to take advantage of dawn or dusk lighting.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite targets, Garnet Lake. I like the reflections on the calm water. It was taken at about 7AM, f/4 w/ 16mm focal length.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:02 pm
by SweetSierra
JWreno, thanks for your report and photo of Garnet Lake (and all of the subsequent photos)!

A week ago, I finished two back to back (essentially, only two weeks and a long drive back to Oregon apart) 8 and 9-day backpacks, respectively, one in Yosemite, the other Sequoia-Kings Canyon. I love how I feel mentally and physically after long backpacks as well. I love how I feel on the trip too. It makes me hungry to do more, but then the mountain season is ending. :tear:

I've been considering doing the JMT in one hike. It sounds like you may see a lot more people north to south (the usual route, I think). Perhaps south to north would be better? I'd like to take my time too and explore places that I know about off the JMT.

My windshield also sustained a crack from a stone pitched off a truck on the way home from one of the trips. It was small but as far as I can see will spread across the entire windshield. Not getting it replaced yet. It's a new car ($500 ! was the estimate). :eek:

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:15 pm
by JWreno
We spent the last night at a tarn above Guitar Lake to be a little closer to our goal and to have a little more solitude on the last night. We got up at 5AM on the last day to make sure we made it in time for burgers and fries.

Here is a photo of Guitar Lake from the overlook near the tarn above it. f/9 at 32mm.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:43 pm
by JWreno
My wife captured this photo of a bear on the prowl at about 6:40 AM near our Mono Creek bridge campsite. She was using the Canon G 1X. We like that camera because it still has an optical view finder and you can have full exposure control.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:52 pm
by JWreno
After a early but hard climb up Bear ridge we enjoyed a nice cascade on Bear Creek. I love water over granite. f/8 at 16mm.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:02 pm
by JWreno
We reached Evolution Lake at about 2PM after camping at Piute Creek the previous night. We did a bear can clothes wash and the clouds started to build up and we had about 3 hours of thunder but no rain.

Here is a picture of the clouds hugging the crest north of the lake. f/9 at 16mm.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:05 pm
by JWreno
The masonry work in Muir hut is pretty incredible considering it's location. It's held up well over the years of exposure. f/4 at 16mm.

Re: JMT 17 day Trip Completed

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:18 pm
by JWreno
I have been over Forester Pass 3 times northbound but first time southbound from Vidette Meadows. It was a hell of a workout but we felt pretty good. We were beat by the time we got to Tyndall Creek that day. I didn't notice the steel Ibeam holding up the rock work until this year. Is that a recent repair to the trail?