Wow, thanks for all the replies.
James, I have thought about continuing on the PCT. I haven't set anything in stone yet, and I'm sure I'll change my mind a thousand more times, but that does seem like a very good idea-probably the easiest option.
Drew, thanks for all the advise. Are all those side trips in the backcountry? I'd love to travel backcountry, but to be honest I have never really been off trail. How hard is getting point to point? I feel trapped by my lack of navigational experience. I'd really like to just do the HSR more than anything, but don't trust my ability to go very far off trail, especially solo. Same goes for the PNT and Great Divide Trail...I'd love to do them, but haven't really had much experience reading topo maps.
With a little map studying and preparation do you suppose I could take to the backcountry Sierra, even if it is for a short jaunt down to Dusy Basin or one the spots you mentioned? Or would you not recommend heading off trail without much prior experience? Also, you said it starts to get cold around October. My dates are extremely flexible, I have from June-October to do this trip. I'm just torn between going in July for ample water supply and the flowers (and putting up with the mosquitos), or going mid-late August to mid-late September to avoid the crowds a little.
Right now I'm liking the sounds of flying into Reno, taking a shuttle to Tahoe Meadows, and hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail. Then I would take a shuttle back to Reno where I could catch a bus to Yosemite to start the JMT; hopefully take my time and do some side trips, reach the summit of Whitney and continue on the High Sierra Trail.
Anyone see any problems with this plan logistically?
Not sure yet where to fly out of to get back home to Florida, or how I would get to the airport from Crescent Meadow.
I am, however, open to hearing more suggestions, as this is definitely not set. Just trying do some great backpacking out west. The JMT is the only thing I'm set on doing. I'm willing to spend 6 weeks out there and expect about 3 weeks of those to be on the JMT and HST.