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John Muir Trail - 2009
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Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
John Muir Trail - 2009 on 11/29/2009 14:14:51 MST Print View

I recently completed a "life list" backpacking thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. The following trip report is excerpted from my journal entries leading up to, during, and immediately after the hike. At the end are 3 appendices that may be useful for planning your own hike. The trip report includes a few pictures; if interested you can view the entire photo album here . I hope you enjoy.

* Prologue
* Preparation
* On Route and Around Yosemite
* Curry Village to Upper Cathedral Lake
* Upper Cathedral Lake to Lyell Canyon Headwaters
* Lyell Canyon Headwaters to Reds Meadow
* Reds Meadow to Purple Lake
* Purple Lake to Vermillion Valley Resort
* Vermillion Valley Resort to Marie Lake
* Marie Lake to Evolution Lake
* Evolution Lake to Lower Palisades Lake
* Lower Palisades Lake to Sawmill Pass Trail Junction
* Sawmill Pass Trail Junction to Upper Vidette Meadow
* Upper Vidette Meadow to Wallace Creek
* Wallace Creek to Guitar Lake
* Guitar Lake to Whitney Portal
* Homeward
* Epilogue
* Itinerary
* Gear List
* Menu

next: Prologue

Edited by stevet on 11/29/2009 14:27:21 MST.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Excellent on 11/29/2009 19:46:43 MST Print View

This is good. Thanks for sharing. Hope to do JMT early in the 2010 season.

jonathan lorenz
(punkture) - F

Locale: Northern California
enjoyed! on 11/29/2009 23:17:20 MST Print View

thanks for sharing steve. it is really awesome to relive the adventure again and be able to share it with friends and family.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
great report! on 11/30/2009 11:08:22 MST Print View

Great report. It should be a great help to anyone planning to hike the JMT. I like the one page per day format of your journal. Your are organized.
Boy, you put in some long days. Did you still have energy to write in your journal daily? Thanks for sharing your work.
Guitar Lake to Whitney are worth a thousand words...Wow!

I do not think I could hike from Evolution Lake to Whitney in a day. I hiked from Helen Lake below Muir Pass to the campsite at the foot of the "Staircase".
After hiking from Puite Jct. to Helen Lake in a day, I decided not to hike over passes at the end of the day, if possible...and it was.

Edited by rambler on 01/15/2010 06:08:09 MST.

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
thanks for the nice words on 11/30/2009 13:59:37 MST Print View

Thanks for taking time to read the trip report, but only a partial apology for its length. I tend to the verbose, but the is a lot to say about these 2 epic weeks!

I am organized, anal-retentively-so. Funny thing, despite all this organization I got off itinerary on hiking day 1 and didn't get back on track until the end of day 12. I like the high degree of organization since I can usually count on everything being where it is supposed to be when it is supposed to be there. This gives me the freedom to hike the hike as it unfolds and not worry about being at any given place at any given time. In this case getting ahead allowed me the stop at VVR and set up my meeting Art, Dale, Walter, Ryan and Jon (and myriad others I was fortunate to share trail with).

And with the exception of the night at VVR I journaled every evening. Even with the long hiking days I had daylight to spare (except for the Evolution to Palisades Lakes day). My long day formula = start early + eat constantly + stay hydrated. If I do this I can pretty much walk as many hours as I want and therefore get as far as I want. I did learn however that I need more lunch/snack foods if I am going to walk for 12 hours!

But enough already. Thanks for taking the time to read it all, and for the nice comment. Steve

Edited by stevet on 11/30/2009 18:36:09 MST.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: thanks for the nice words on 12/01/2009 23:29:45 MST Print View


Thank you for your detailed report. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'm planning on a 2010 JMT attempt and will definitely come back to read this before I depart.

I am sorry everyone on the trail was right about CAL football this year. At least they won the Big Game!


Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
CAL Football on 12/02/2009 12:42:48 MST Print View

Same story every year, regardless of talent they are unable to elevate their play to the championship level; a coaching problem.

Tedford has done well at rebuilding the CAL football program, but it is time for him to go. Need someone that can take it up another notch or two.

Millette Jones
(ttaboro) - F

Locale: Southeast
temperature on 12/20/2009 19:18:08 MST Print View


I enjoyed your report and pix! I will be doing half the trail in 2010 the exact same two weeks you did your thru. I noticed you took a 15* bag but not too many heavy clothes. What sort of night time temps did you experience?

Great summit pic!

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
JMT temps on 12/20/2009 19:23:58 MST Print View

Just one night below freezing, and freezing temps+wind chill on the summit. The clothes were sufficient to sit out during the evenings and stay comfortable; they were only marginal on the summit. The sleeping bag was much warmer than needed; I never zipped it completely. (must be time to add another sleeping bag to the gear pile!).