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Ultra-retro JMT hike.
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 19:49:53 MDT Print View

Next year I plan on hiking the John Muir Trail with more or less the same material and technology limitations someone would have in the mid to late 1800's. I'm not trying to do a period thing to specifically look like some 1800's explorer, just doing my own thing here. I have not heard of anyone doing this before.
Right now I am just brainstorming what gear I would bring.

Clothing would be:
cotton long sleeve for hot weather
wool shirt
wool long underwear
cotton shorts or cotton pants.
2x wool sweaters for insulation
canvas? hat
Not sure what I would use to block the wind.

Pack would be something by alder stream.

Shelter and rain gear would be a waxed canvas poncho.

Sleeping gear would probably be a couple wool blankets, I would need to experiment with how many "pounds" of wool blanket required. There aren't really any options for ground insulation here.

Cook gear would just be a simple tin alcohol stove and small pot. And then there is the huge challenge of correct food.

Any thoughts? I know this will be a heavy pack, but there are probably non UL people who have done the trail with heavier packs and modern gear.

Edited by justin_baker on 07/31/2012 19:51:13 MDT.


Locale: South West US
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 19:56:25 MDT Print View

Interesting idea, however, a couple of things come to mind. What about food storage? Bear cans weren't required back then. What about water treatment? If you have to boil all your it could be time/weight prohibative.

Also, I think most mountain travelers back then had a horse or donkey or goat to carry their gear.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 19:57:06 MDT Print View

Cool idea. What about footwear? Hob nail boots?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 20:20:48 MDT Print View

Ken, that's why I said "more or less". I like minimalist shoes, so I could either go with some kind of moccasin or go with some all leather vivobarefoot ra's or gobis. Maybe that would be cheating, I wonder if someone out there in that time period had rubber soled shoes. If I put myself in a stiff shoe I would probably want to quit after the first mile. Does anyone even make those leather nail boots anymore?

I probably would not treat my water. I didn't think of a bear can, I guess that would be an unavoidable exception.

They probably did have horses and donkeys, but I now have the benefit of resupply points.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 20:52:16 MDT Print View

Totally doable.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 07/31/2012 21:03:45 MDT Print View

You might like this site of Bronze's expedition log,He did the PCT this way.It gives his route,gear,clothing,food,authenticity,ect.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
some gear suggestions on 07/31/2012 21:30:19 MDT Print View

wind and water proof: Ventile cotton anorak, or waxed cotton
for footwear, check out a photo of John Muir's boots
for pack, how about a Trapper Nelson? (early 20th century)
Also needed: 44 or 45 revolver
cotton bedroll
metal or canvas canteen
canned goods
fry pan

Angelo Radano

Locale: New England
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 08/01/2012 11:29:11 MDT Print View

Read up on Nessmuk and his gear - He did things pretty lightweight for the time period.

Light - Candle Lantern. I doubt you will want to use kerosene.

Footwear - I think a pair of mocs or mukluks would do the trick. If not, just use a classic pair of leather mountaineering boots (i.e. Limmer).

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 08/01/2012 17:48:39 MDT Print View

I know all about Nessmuck lol. On Bushcraft USA, the main site I post on, he gets mentioned A LOT. He inadvertently generated a whole line of "nessmuck" style knives. I also love Ross's blog!
My plan was to not use any kind of light. Just go to sleep as the sun goes down or use campfire light.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 08/01/2012 19:14:35 MDT Print View

and hike the original JMT too....Center Basin over Junction Pass, then over Shepherd Pass and on to Whitney??

Nick Brown

Locale: Highland Park
Ultra-retro on 08/01/2012 19:27:04 MDT Print View

I have a pair of Arrow moccasins. They are fantastic. The double sole is very thick and super durable. It provides good rigidity while maintaining a similar ground feel to Merrel barefoot shoes. Wide toe box too. Apparently, the Louis and Clark expedition members had to replace the soles of their mocs every other day. I don't think you would be having to do than that.

I also read on the Liberty Rifles blog many accounts of the Civil War soldiers using rubber blankets either as blankets or ground cloths. The blog has very detailed information regarding shelters and sleep systems or the lack there of. Interesting reading. I think you can acquire very thin rubber on a roll from Home Depot, in Roofing?

Waxed canvas is not breathable. I have a Filson waxed hat that is great but way too hot for even moderate exertion. Just thought I'd mention it.

Sounds like a great trip. Good luck and enjoy!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Route on 08/01/2012 19:30:27 MDT Print View

What exactly was the 1800's route? Maybe the Sierra High Route would be a bit more authentic. If you don't have Roper's book you may be interested in getting it. He has a good section at the beginning about the early Asierra explorers.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Route on 08/01/2012 20:05:52 MDT Print View

In the 1800's, there was no John Muir Trail, nor was there any Sierra High Route. Theodore Solomons figured out the early routes. When the JMT was first built in the early part of the twentieth century, it went over Junction Pass. When Forester Pass was built, the trail went over it.

In the 1860's, the Brewer Party did some of the earliest recorded exploration of this area. They went from Mount Brewer, named after the leader, to Mount Tyndall and back. However, that is rough country, and if you are going against the grain, you better eat your Wheaties.


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Ultra-retro on 08/01/2012 21:08:13 MDT Print View

I know about waxed canvas not being breathable. But in cold rain, your sweat is probably better than getting constantly splashed by cold stuff! The hat would not be waxed and would not be worn in the rain (only need it for sun protection).

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Ultra-retro on 08/01/2012 21:17:00 MDT Print View

What about Bronze's blog,did you look at that.He gives food ideas and links to what helped him in his decision making for authenticity.Not that you need to use everything he says but there are some good resources.

Edited by annapurna on 08/01/2012 21:57:58 MDT.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Ultra-retro JMT hike. on 08/02/2012 08:46:34 MDT Print View

This book has everything you need to know!

Kephart had 20 pound pack weight all the way back then.

Edited by justaddfuel on 08/02/2012 08:49:09 MDT.

Geoffrey Lehmann
(yipper) - MLife

Locale: deep south
for the 1859 timeframe on 08/02/2012 11:37:16 MDT Print View

Captain Randolph Marcy's "The Prairie Traveler"