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PCT Section Hike - JMT

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PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby NoBoHiker » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:04 pm

Getting excited about a trip in summer which I plan to do in a bit more than a week:
Horseshoe Meadows/Cottonwood to Tuolumne Meadows or Happy Isles. The permit includes Whitney and I want to make it up there for sure.
I'll start late July so hopefully snow & creek crossings are not a major issue anymore.

I am currently leading towards tent vs tarp not only because of mosquitos but also privacy.

I am also on the fence when it comes to resupply"
- one option is to bring enough food for the ~160 Miles from Horseshoe until Muir Ranch + snack on the excess food that allegedly is at Muir Ranch
- another option is play it say and to ship a bucket to Muir Ranch

Thoughts anyone?

Happy Trails

Rick



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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby wanderin.jack » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:14 am

Depends on your fitness level and speed of travel. The north bound jmt has you hitting the highest passes first with the most weight. I've used MTR for resupplies on several occasions other than JMT through hikes. Another option is to drop a resupply for yourself in the bear box at the onion valley campground and hike out over kearsage pass to get it. I've done that also just make sure to properly mark your box with when it will be picked up or the Rangers will remove it.


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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby markskor » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:22 am

Impressive itinerary there...Horseshoe Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows, a good 225 miles, and down to Happy Isles, another 27 more? A little more than a week you say... 9 days? Wow!

Essentially the MUIR, with a slightly different (Permit hassle?) entrance trailhead...yes, much easier to bag a permit out of HM going NOBO.
Couple of questions though...Why the rush? 25 miles a day seems a bit quick? - the ol' "stop and smell the roses" thing, but as they say - HYOH.

As you are going late July...prime time for JMT conga-line but slightly past the PCT Peloton... yes, you could easily grab enough free food out of the MTR Hiker Box... should be stuffed/overflowing with the usual...easily get you through, at your pace, those extra 2 days till Reds.

Lots of "garbage" at MTR. Garbage - a trail term for the food drop stuff - (those cairns of white buckets) - the items not wanted/needed, as in, "Anybody want any of this garbage before I throw it in the Hiker Box?" This term also be heard at the Tuolumne Store picnic tables. After those first 5 - 6 days, a Credit card is really all you need. Grab a few beers and sit down among the dirtbags...trading and begging also works...One could do a free major restock just by being amicable... good Karma?
They call it trail magic.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby Hobbes » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:29 am

NoBoHiker wrote:Horseshoe Meadows/Cottonwood to Tuolumne Meadows or Happy Isles. The permit includes Whitney and I want to make it up there for sure. I'll start late July so hopefully snow & creek crossings are not a major issue anymore. I am currently leading towards tent vs tarp not only because of mosquitos but also privacy.


That's a super-aggressive Sierra hike, perhaps in the realm of those in the fast, front pack doing the PCT from the border. Not to say you can't do it, or aren't in sufficient shape - especially if you have long trail experience - but there's a couple of reveals.

One, any PCTer hiking that far/fast each day is almost guaranteed to be purely cowboy camping; that is, they carry a (small) tarp for emergencies, but essentially just throw down and crash after hiking till dusk/dark. Also, PCTers wear trail runners, so they tend to just barge on through water crossings with their shoes on, since they're designed for exactly that: drain & dry while on-the-go.

Two, PCTers hiking that far/fast each day tend to starve; they take really light packs with limited food, and count on gorging at certain stops. For example, they would never carry enough food to get from Horseshoe to MTR/VVR. Rather, almost without exception, they all leave the trail @ Onion valley and head down to Indy/LP/Bishop to re-supply and gorge.

(This year, their permits also allow them to exit down the Whitney main trail and then re-enter. I would expect that will be utilized as well, since once you're on the peak, it's easy to hike down, and it's even easier to hitch a ride into LP. The deal killer in past years was they didn't have any priority getting back up, so the chance of getting stuck was too great a risk.)

Once resupplied and heading back over Kearsarge, their next objective is to maybe grab an (expensive) meal - or rifle the hiker box - @ MTR/VVR, with the intention of making it to Mammoth for their next re-supply/gorge festival just as they run out of food.

As you can see, it's really a different strategy and technique to hike the Sierra "PCT style". Hiking it "JMT style" tends to involve heavier packs and shorter days since who really wants to jump off trail @ Kearsarge (plus the extra 15 mile round-trip) right after you get started? Or go all the way into Mammoth rather than just get a few things @ Reds? So that means carrying a crap-ton of food so you only have to re-supply once @ VVR/MTR.

One last thing, you asked about potential crowds. The short answer is, you'll be coming across 35-50 people heading south each day. After awhile, you might get sick and tired of saying hi. Last year, on my way to the HST meet-up in the Kaweahs. I probably came across 20+ people just in the stretch from where I hit the JMT/PCT from Shepherd down to Junction meadow.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:35 pm

The last time doing the JMT, was in 9 days, that was with a layover at Rae Lakes (met some cool folks form Japan), and stayed at Guitar Lake because of some other reason, could have finished in 7. Resupplied once at Muir Ranch (sent food ahead), had fun when doing it, but would not do it again, crowds or trails are not might thing any more. Know you caloric needs, know and eat foods that you enjoy (don't experiment with new foods you have never eaten before), train for distance, be ready for mosquitoes and crossings.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby markskor » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:06 pm

maverick wrote:The last time doing the JMT, was in 9 days

My last time doing the Muir, did it in 32 days...best trip I ever did.
Well, there were a few trips with the OldRanger - they're up there too, but, a top 5 all time.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby longri » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:09 pm

NoBoHiker wrote:I am also on the fence when it comes to resupply"
- one option is to bring enough food for the ~160 Miles from Horseshoe until Muir Ranch + snack on the excess food that allegedly is at Muir Ranch
- another option is play it say and to ship a bucket to Muir Ranch

I was kind of surprised at how slim the pickings were when I was there last August.

I had started in Yosemite Valley with 7 nights of food, enough for my original plan but not after a foot injury had left me unable to walk for the two months prior to the trip. And by the time I realized I might be healthy enough to go it was too late to send a cache. So I planned to stop at MTR and rummage through the buckets. I was able to scrounge a few days of edible food there, but the contents of the buckets were kind of disappointing.

I was heading south. Heading north you'll only be a couple of days from the store at Reds Mdw. So the scrounge plan seems reasonable. On the other hand, a bucket with your favorite foods, fresh socks and underwear, etc, would be really nice, although kind of expensive.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby Hobbes » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:42 pm

maverick wrote:The last time doing the JMT was in 9 days - could have been 7


I remember when you told me that - 7 days is getting near FKT territory where it stops being a hike and you just trail run the whole thing. I like this PCTer's account of going from Crabtree to Tuolumne last year in 7 days (+2 in Mammoth) - after looping Cottonwood/Whitney twice. She describes very well what it's like to travel that fast, and mentions jogging certain sections:

https://chasingmydaydream.wordpress.com ... chot-pass/
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:03 pm

That was back in 2002, could do even faster now, but like mention before, it's not my thing anymore, would only use that speed to bail because of weather or to get someone help, but not to do muti-days on the freeway (PCT/JMT). [-(
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby longri » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:48 pm

Hobbes wrote:
maverick wrote:The last time doing the JMT was in 9 days - could have been 7


I remember when you told me that - 7 days is getting near FKT territory where it stops being a hike and you just trail run the whole thing.

The FKT is roughly 3 1/2 days. Even those guys don't run very much. They don't sleep much either.

A 7 day trip is pretty fast relative to the average hiker, but it's mostly about walking many hours with fewer stops and maybe a little less sleep. It's not extreme and certainly not in the same league as the FKT crowd. Not even close. Lots of people walk the JMT in 8 days. I think I could do it in under 6 days if things lined up correctly. And I'm an old guy who was never any sort of athlete.

It's just walking and being willing to keep walking. Definitely not a spectator sport!
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:38 pm

By the time the PCT'ers hit the Sierra they have already been out a month or more and are in great shape, totally acclimated and accustomed to the 25+ miles per day. They have it down to a science. Plus they seldom do this day after day. Usually 3-5 days on the trail then a "zero" in town. Perhaps, you should start with a few lower mile days and then work up to the longer days to avoid injury (particularly feet).

Carrying 7 days food is not that bad. Every day your pack gets lighter too! If you re-pack the food, it fits in a bear can. I would say take a minimal amount you think you need to reach Reds Meadow, and if you see you are running low when you near Muir Ranch, then get some there. You may not have to. I have also begged food off backpackers on the trail. A lot of people going out have brought too much food and are very happy to get rid of some. I have scored gas for my stove this way too.

I disagree that you cannot enjoy or see much if you do those miles. A relatively moderate trail pace is 2mph. If you limit rest stops, 10 hours of walking is 20 miles. Mid July you have 16 hours of daylight. Hike 12 hours and you about have your 25 miles. If you go UL carrying a pack does not mean you are looking down at the trail all day. I see plenty while I am hiking. My old body would not be able to keep up 25 miles a day for 9 days straight, but young fit people should do just fine. You just have to be a very dedicated hiker and keep your feet from getting beat up. The few times I have camped at the Muir Ranch campsite I saw several people who had to quit because their feet were hamburger.

Good luck. Have fun.
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Re: PCT Section Hike - JMT

Postby NoBoHiker » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:57 pm

Thank you all for the feedback. Regarding the Mileage, I am not concerned at all as I have done several trips with similar Mileage before and I guess I'll need even less time. I am actually a PCT Weekend/Section Hiker and now its time for me to cover the JMT/PCT section this summer!!
One last comment about the Mileage, I completely understand folks taking their time staying in camp and enjoying the being out there, but my day usually starts early in the morning when I can't wait to get back on the trail. Hiking during the golden hours (sunset/sunrise) is a special treat and my curiosity about whats waiting for me down the trail is driving me forward during the rest of the day.

Anyways, my take away based on your feedback is that I won't ship to Muir Ranch, I'll rather plan for foot until the day before arriving at Reds and chances are that I'll find something at Muir Ranch in the Hiker box I can nibble on, but I won't rely on it - I'll probably get to have Oatmeal with Ketchup ;-)

It isn't worth shipping into Reds either as it is only 36 to Tuolumne Meadows, so'll have Burgers and probably take some more more to go + I hear they have a good stocked market there so I can get whatever I care fore at that time.

Overall, I hope this works well, especially since I usually have less of an appetite for the first couple of days on the trail anyways which may be related due to the high water intake on my 'big mile days'.
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