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Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Zpacks Exo on the JMT on 08/22/2012 08:46:22 MDT Print View

Thank you very much for the detail report on the pack Manfred. Sounds like a good pack for thru-hikers who only carry heavy loads occasionally. What I think would really improve the carry would be a separate hip belt that attached directly to the frame the way hipbelts attach to traditional external frame packs.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
z on 08/22/2012 10:39:18 MDT Print View

I also have an zpacks EXO and it can easily carry the weight.
I had a small abrasion problem at the bottom of my hipbelt from sitting down on rocks
so now I take the pack off if I sit but it's very comfortable pack.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Food and cooking on 08/22/2012 11:35:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for the gear list. it is a nice combination of tried and true as well as more interesting items.

Can you tell us a bit about how you did food? Did you have a hot meal for both evening and morning? I see you used the caldera keg. Did you use two of these? If you used only one, how did you manage to boil water for four people?

Also, did you have to deal with bugs while sleeping? looks like maybe not from your list and at least one of the photos.

Thanks again.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Incident on top of Donohue Pass on 08/22/2012 11:36:59 MDT Print View

"This "gentleman" was feeding marmots from a bag of chips. My wife asked him to please not do that because it would create a problem for the marmots and all future visitors to this place. When he told her "that is non of your business", she asked him politely to please watch his language a little around these little girls. He then went into a rampage with many f-words..."

A good deal of the people tend to react really bad when their ignorance is pointed out to them, especially when it makes them look like a dufus in front of their friends. To stop myself from reliving the heated encounter over the next few days, I try and have sympathy for their situation. Like there they are, out with their buddies playing the role of the wilderness guide and getting a lot of pride from it. Then I come along and poke holes in that persona by explaining that they really shouldn't be doing something. Helps to, when before saying something, I anticipate the bad reaction I'm going to likely get when injuring somebodies ego.

Kudos to your wife for bothering, as the guy probably just wasn't thinking about what he was doing and the moment she said something he realized it was extremely irresponsible, but just couldn't take looking stupid with others around to witness it.

I feel really bad for the people that try and tell others to stay out of the water above falls, and then have to watch them get swept over and die, all because it is "none of their business".

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters on 08/22/2012 12:05:29 MDT Print View

Manfred, that was a fantastic trip report! Congrats to your family for having such a great adventure. It saddens me to hear of people that are so rude and insensitive like the two guys you encountered on Donahue. Awful. Glad you turned the other cheek and continued onwards.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Food list and Cooking on the JMT -- and Bugs on 08/22/2012 13:38:44 MDT Print View


we had no issues with bugs. Normally we would just put head nets over when cowboy camping, but this year that was not necessary - unlike last year, when the bugs were out in force due to the late snow melt.

Cooking for four with the Caldera F-Keg works, but takes patience. My wife didn't have that patience and decided to carry the JetBoil Sol TI. The JetBoil by itself would certainly be enough - it is so fast and convenient. We used the two parts of the caddy for the Foster's Keg as our mugs - my wife and I would share one and our daughters would share one. We had two warm meals - lunch and dinner - both being mountain house freeze dried meals. In the past we would have warm oatmeal in the morning, but more recently we switched to cold granola. We would still often have hot chocolade or hot tea to drink with breakfast. So we boiled water two to three times a day.
Here is one day of our day-by-day food list. That particular day didn't have hot chocolade, but otherwise shows everything. This day was also towards the end. In the beginning we would have only one snack (we learned the last years that your hunger is way less the first week) and then every couple of days increase it by one bar up to four after two weeks. Our daughters had their own preference of bars (PowerBar, Luna Bar) but mine is Clif bars. The mountain houses have two servings and the one that is shown for dinner was shared with my wife. She shared hers with me during lunch.


Meal Description Calories Oz Cal/Oz Fat(g) Carbs(g) Fiber (g) Protein(g)
Breakfast Granola (1/2 cup) 220 2 110 8 33 4 5
Dry Milk (1/3 cup) 80 1 100 0 12 0 8
Fruit & Nut Medley (1/4 cup) 140 1 127 6 17 1 3
Snack #1 Clif Bar - Apricot 230 2.4 96 3 45 5 10
Fruit & Nut Medley (1/4 cup) 140 1 127 6 17 1 3
Macademia Nuts (1/4 cup) 230 1 230 24 4 2 2
Gatorade (1 Tsp) 50 1 100 0 14 0 0
Snack #2 Trio 230 1.7 135 16 20 3 6
Gatorade (1 Tsp) 50 1 100 0 14 0 0
Snack #3 Clif Bar - Oatmeal Walnut Raisin 240 2 100 5 43 5 10
Snack #4 Trio 230 1.7 135 16 20 3 6
Dinner Mountain House - Chicken a la King with Noodles 680 6.35 107 28 80 4 48
. Gatorade (1 Tsp) 50 1 100 0 14 0 0
2570 22.05 117 112 333 28 101

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Outstanding trip on 08/22/2012 21:42:53 MDT Print View

I'm sure girls enjoyed the trip immensely. Adventures like these will stay in their memories and will bring many smiles through the years head.

Great trip and excellent report!

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Great trip report, and thanks for the help. on 08/25/2012 12:10:16 MDT Print View

Great trip report Manfred. It was nice meeting you and your family at both the hot springs (you showed me where they were) and Crabtree Meadow. My boys still talk about you all, as your daughters were the only ones that they saw that were younger than them. Kudos to them and to you for a great hike.

You also offered us a ride into Lone Pine, but we managed to hitch a ride with a couple of long-haired hippie types before you got there. Thanks again.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
You are welcome on 08/25/2012 12:24:04 MDT Print View

Hi Tom,

You are welcome. The girls were looking for your boys on the last day. You must have gotten an early start. We actually waited a little bit at Whitney Portal - just in case we leap frogged you, due to our decision not to summit in the hail. But you must have already gone.

Say "Hi" to your boys. They are quite the troopers.


Edited by Orienteering on 08/25/2012 13:41:32 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters on 08/25/2012 12:45:14 MDT Print View

Wow! Your girls are tough. I know a lot of grown men who would probably give up after a few miles of hiking.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters on 08/25/2012 14:25:11 MDT Print View

Manfred et al.,
Thanks for sharing the great trip report. Just a few comments...

- Kudos to you & your wife for taking your girls on the JMT and making it work so well for them!
- Kudos to your girls for putting in those miles, and with smiles on their faces. They are tough AND cute. Gotta say though that they always looked fresher than you...might be time to switch more weight into their packs. ;)
- Shame on that guy and his companions!!!
- I was at the visitor's center of Yosemite's Mariposa Grove with my family when a woman (foreign tourist) threw her cigarette butt on the ground. Bad enough that I had to smell that smoke while trying to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on earth, but to see her toss that butt on the ground when there was a place to dispose of it 3 feet from her was too much for me. I didn't say a word, but walked over, picked up the butt, and through it in the recepticle. She tracked me down after the tour (and her fellow tourists had walked away) to yell at me for embarassing her in front of her friends...jeez, thought you could only embarass yourself.


Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Wow! on 08/25/2012 14:40:45 MDT Print View


Wow, that woman yelled at your for picking up her trash and putting it where it belongs?
It's always amazing to me to see how some people treat the wilderness they are visiting - and then get upset when being made aware of their behavior - even in such an indirect way as yours.


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Wow! on 08/25/2012 14:58:14 MDT Print View

You misunderstood me.

She EXPECTED someone to pick up her cigarette butt...once she had gone.

She was FURIOUS that someone would highlight her faux front of her friends.

I still shake my head over it, but am glad that my son was there to witness it. Regardless, your experience was more extreme, but maybe better for your daughters to learn from.


Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Same guys? on 08/25/2012 15:13:42 MDT Print View


The rude guys in your photo look a bit like the guys who were reported littering on top of Half Dome. I wasn't up there, but people on their way down told me that they had observed 3 guys littering, and when they were asked to pick it up they replied "we might later", then proceeded to yell profanities when the crowd wouldn't tolerate their littering. A bit farther down the trail, the rangers had found the guys and were ticketing them for the incident on Half Dome and threatening them with worse. I only got a short glance at them, but they look something like the guys in your picture. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

Thankfully, everyone else that I met on the trail the entire hike were courteous and friendly.

And yes, we made it to Guitar Lake the previous night and started up Whitney just before 7 a.m. We did kind of the same as you. We were warned by a ranger near trail crest not to go to the summit due to lightening danger, so we went within about 300 yards of the summit before declaring the hike done. The boys wanted to wait for pizza in Lone Pine, but upon finally reaching Whitney Portal they were really wanting a burger. Those burgers were indeed good.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 08/25/2012 18:51:27 MDT.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Easy to identify by left eye brow on 08/25/2012 15:37:13 MDT Print View


The guy who showed us multiple middle fingers and barfed his mental diarrhea over us is very easy to identify. You can see it even in the low res picture - his left eye brow has a big patch of light colored hair in it.

I'm sure once you see it you will recognize him.


Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters on 08/26/2012 16:22:12 MDT Print View


I just saw that you posted a TR on here. Both Ellen and I really enjoyed reading about your experience and seeing your photos. Too bad about the guys on Donohue, but what are you going to do? It reflects poorly on them and well on you & your family. I am very impressed with your daughters. It must be wonderfully empowering for them to have completed such a long hike. Ellen and I were out in a couple of storms while you guys were on the trail and we were glad when we could get back to our car & dry clothes. Hopefully the weather is done for awhile!


Bill Wang
Zpacks WPBCF Jacket on 08/27/2012 10:05:43 MDT Print View

Hi Manfred,
Congratulations and thanks for posting this. Very inspiring. I was wondering how you found the Zpacks WPBCF Jacket with all the rain this year? I have one but haven't really tested it hiking in the rain much. I am planning to take it for about half of the JMT next week with my daughter (Mammoth to South Lake). Thanks! -Bill.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
ZPacks Rain Jacket worked well on 08/28/2012 16:37:43 MDT Print View

Hi Bill,

The jacket worked very well.

- It kept me dry in all the rain -- ok that is expected of a rain jacket
- It dealt well with my sweat. Breathable rain jackets have their limits in regard to breathing out the moisture you produce when hiking. This jacket did a good job in the conditions we encountered. It was not cold at all, so whenever the rain eased I could open the zipper for better venting.
- I had no problems with abrasion. Having read a lot about abrasion with cuben, I was originally concerned the shoulder area might be a problematic area with carrying a backpack all day. This was not the case. The jacket shows some discoloration in those areas which I assume has to do with different layers of the cuben. But I can't detect any abrasion problems.

Together with the ZPacks Cuben mitts the jacket was an essential part our succesful JMT hike this year.


Edited by Orienteering on 01/21/2013 10:46:14 MST.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT on 09/11/2012 23:16:51 MDT Print View

I'm coming in on this late but just wanted to say hello Manfred. I met you and the family at MTR when Barbara K. and I pulled in for our resupply. Your daughters are little sweethearts. Just before you were leaving they came over to the hiker barrels where Barbara and I were sorting out our stuff. They were making one last check for goodies and latched onto something Barbara had just tossed in the barrel.
It is a shame to have had to deal with some unpleasantness on the trail. Sometimes there is no accounting for human stupidity. But I am sure the pleasant memories will far outlast the bad. I suspect your daughters will cherish the adventure for the rest of their lives.

Don Amundson
Still Lookin'

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Your family rocks on 09/12/2012 00:08:10 MDT Print View

I enjoyed your photos from your trip - you and your family have the right stuff it takes to enjoy and complete a long distance trail. What a fantastic experience! The three neanderthals you met on Donahue Pass notwithstanding (and kudos to you for keeping your cool), I am sure the experience of these hikes will greatly influence your daughters through adulthood Every time I see a young person on the trail it gives me hope that there will be those in the future who will speak for conservation and protection of wilderness.