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just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts
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Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: just finished the JMT... a few observations and thoughts on 09/26/2012 22:15:01 MDT Print View

Don, were you the other person having breakfast in Red's on August 27th?

There was only one other person. He told the waitress that he'd done the JMT in 7 days a few decades ago and was planning on doing it this go around in fourteen days or so. We didn't talk, but I had a great conversation with the waitress after you left.

I had a great JMT hike. While I'm somewhat fast, I don't think I fit your description. Didn't meet anyone overly pompous either.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Just finished the JMT..a few observation and thoughts on 09/26/2012 22:27:01 MDT Print View

Nice write up Jack and pictures. 9 days WOW!! Why do you think the trees are dying in the Sierras?

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Just finished the JMT..a few observation and thoughts on 09/26/2012 23:00:11 MDT Print View

Thanks Jay!

I'm not a scientist, but as a long distance hiker, I've seen the tree death first hand.

The Sierra is not unique in this tragedy. Read this article from the USGS: Tree Deaths in California’s Sierra Nevada Increase as Temperatures Rise. My understanding is that warming temperatures, beetles, drier conditions and low level pollution are conspiring to kill the trees.

I've been taking photos of dead forests for years. Here is a recent one from this summer.


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
consider hiking in June or Sept on 10/02/2012 03:37:43 MDT Print View

To this comment: "I've been thinking about doing a thru of the JMT within the next couple of summers and this sounds a little disheartening."

My wife and I hiked the JMT recently, finishing on Sept 24th. I don't recall any trash or t.p. or the like along the trail, nor did I have any but positive encounters with other hikers. Sure, climbing out of Yosemite there are a lot of people on the trail (or there were when we started in early Sept), but I don't recall any unhappiness there either.

We had a great time, with great weather, no bugs, mostly easy access to water (even late in this melted-out-early year), lots of animal sightings, not that many other hikers out there outside of near trail access points, and it's still as starkly beautiful as I remember it from a few years ago. And FWIW, I was comfortable in a 30F bag with some clothes on inside it (YMMV on that one in Sept of course).

Perhaps if you pick one of the shoulder season times to go you might enjoy it better (?). I've never hiked in there in July or August. I can say that going through it southbound in September is a more relaxing experience than hiking northbound in (a typical) June! But either time is, I think, a bit less crowded, and thus perhaps folks might as a result act more ... civilized (as opposed to how we too often act in 'civilization').

daniel B
(dbogey) - F - M

Locale: East Coast
People and Nature on 10/02/2012 06:57:18 MDT Print View

Well I just off the SHR a few weeks ago and didn't run into anyone who was particularly rude, in fact everyone was really nice. I had just gone over Kearsarge for a day hike and ran into a fellow named Paul who was out for 5 days, we got to talking about families and such and before you know it we had been talking for over and hour! I do find that people disregard nature. Two instances were people using camp suds in pristine lakes (glacier and palisades). I couldn't believe when some guy was taking a bath around the corner and here comes the suds. We were like WTF.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Different hikes on 10/19/2012 20:15:22 MDT Print View

Sometimes I hike fast, sometimes slow. All depends on my mood and schedule/plans. I love the athleticism of running at high altitude with a nimble pack weight. I also like moseying along, orienteering or just checking out every other pool in the creeks. On my last outing in SEKI, my son and I ended up running most of the way from Lake Reflection to Road's End. It just seemed about impossible to stroll or even walk fast. We stopped many times to chat, but sometimes we just blew by folks.

It seems these days there are many different modes of travel in the back country. It used to be fairly much just either hiking or riding. I personally am more put off by someone upset by the hike I've chosen than whether they conform to my expectations for them. The only thing I don't have much patience for is trashing the environs.

I give folks a lot of slack on the trail because of the affect altitude and exertion have on mood and rapport.

And to Susan's encounter, that level of irritability can be a sign of an impending heart attack or something close to it. My family was playing at Muir Rock in SEKI some years back when another father fell into a foul mood. He moved around the rock from us to sulk we guessed. He died there, not 15 feet away and we didn't see it happen. Left behind a wife and two young girls. Now we are all keenly alert for those warning signs. I hope your antagonist fared better.

Nick Badyrka
(oldcrank) - F

Locale: Northwest
JMT on 10/21/2012 21:53:30 MDT Print View

Just like climbing..."The best hiker is the one having the most fun"

matt brisbin
(firestarter01) - F

Locale: Bay Area
One quick question... on 11/29/2012 16:57:17 MST Print View

Interesting... I get away from the concrete jungle to *not* run into those personalities :-). Planning on doing the JMT next summer and am curious about your pace. In the write-up you mention that you had initially done the trail in 7 days... really? Impressive if so because isn't that 31.4 mi/day? I'm looking at 3 weeks :-)

Josh Greninger
Re: on 12/20/2012 12:04:14 MST Print View

I didn't read all the posts here, but just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.
This wasn't my experience at all on the JMT in '12. I felt everyone was happy to be there and very respectful of one another. I passed a lot of people, but when I did I'd either wait for them to yield if the trail was narrow or I would go off the trail and around.
I wasn't trying to break a record or anything, but I enjoyed going fast. I'm a trail runner, and was in the middle of training for 50K races when I did the JMT. So, I felt the need to run, and I did at times. I'm addicted to running. It makes me feel great, it makes my experience better. So for the '13 JMT, I'm going to do a smaller section, but I'm going to camp in a few spots and just go on trail runs around camp. For example, camp at Rae Lakes, run up Glenn Pass, down the other side 5-10 miles and then back to camp @ Rae Lakes.
My base weight with a bear can was around 8lb., but I didn't ask anyone what their "base weight" was. But if anyone commented about how effortlessly I ascended to each pass, I praised my lightweight pack - whether out of modesty, or because I wanted them to be able to better enjoy their hiking experiences without the oppressive/excessive pack weight.