If I’m Going to Dream, then I’m Dreaming Big!!!

Video above provided by Chris Smead.

Over the years, I have often thought of hiking the John Muir Trail (aka: the JMT)… let’s be real, what hiker/backpacker hasn’t?! This trail has been called “America’s most beautiful trail” so that must mean something, right? So, in early 2015 I began (loosely) planning a potential JMT section hike with my son that would have taken us along a short 30-ish mile section of the PCT, then north along the JMT to Kearsarge Pass, however, that trip didn’t come to pass (see what I did there!) So, while those particular plans didn’t come to fruition, the fact of the matter is that the trail is still there… so, there is still a reason to hope… and to dream! So I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming BIG this time, and not just of a JMT section hike, but of a full JMT thru-hike! (Woot-woot!!!)

After the plans for our section hike fell though, the JMT got filed to the back of my brain… With everything I have had going on since then, I just didn’t have the time to even consider such an endeavor again. Heck, I’ve hardly even had the time to get out on shorter, closer to home hikes since then! However, on a recent hike I managed to squeeze in with my buddy Benny  Braden (aka: plugitinontheat), he told me that he had been thinking about trying to hike the JMT in the summer of 2017. Well of course that sparked some interest in me, but again, I have so much going on right now that I just didn’t see it as being a real possibility for me to be able to join along, especially with such a short notice. But I said, sure, just keep me in the loop!

Then, as it just-so happened, a couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a fellow BPL’er/backpacker by the name of Chris Smead (aka: hamsterfish on YouTube). He told me that he had been editing a film about his own recently completed, JMT thru-hike, and  that he would be publishing it on his YouTube page soon. So, a couple of days ago when he uploaded the first version of his film, I checked it out, and wow, I really enjoyed it! (There went another spark in me!)

Of course we have already established the fact that the scenery along the JMT is nothing short of beautiful. And after watching Chris’s film, I feel like he has done an excellent job in capturing that beauty! This film was shot and uploaded in 4K, which is very sharp and clean, and it is obvious that he put a lot of work into editing and animating this film. In the end, I think he has presented his journey in a very captivating, and enjoyable film that I could also relate to. He kept things fun and moving, and I found that I was constantly glued to my 4K, 55″ TV screen (yeah, not a little 5″ phone screen, or even our 21″ computer monitor – but a real TV screen), eager to see what was coming up next. (So, be sure to watch the video above… he does a much better job on his videos than I do my own…lol!)

Then, just a couple of days ago I was talking with Jeremy from BoneFire Gear (aka: fireinmybones86) about something not even related to hiking (a beer swap actually). It was in that conversation that hiking the JMT just so happened to come back up again. I told him that I would still like to be kept in the loop if he and Benny firmed up some dates, but in the back of my mind, I knew it was highly unrealistic that I would actually be able to make it. But, my brain was sparking again, and I wanted to live in the moment, so I entertained the thought of actually going. That’s when Jeremy told me that they were planning the hike for summer of 2018, not 2017…

That’s when that little spark turned into a bright light!

At that moment, our conversation took a bit of a turn, and for the last couple of days now, Jeremy, Benny, Joe (aka: Detail Man – whom I have not yet met) and I have all loosely been discussing plans to do a full thru-hike of the JMT in the summer of 2018! Being that it is a full year and a half out, I do believe that I will have time to get things lined up so that I really can go! So yeah, I am dreaming BIG here! Hopefully this time though, things will come together a bit different than the last time I began planning a hike along the JMT… At this point, I think (hope) the permit’s may now be our biggest obstacle…

When I started thinking about a JMT section hike in early 2015, I bought a few books and maps to begin planing our hike. Particularly, Erik the Blacks JMT Pocket Atlas (2nd Edition), the National Geographic JMT Trails Illustrated Map, a Mapdana JMT Pocket Profile Elevation Map and Elizabeth Wenk’s, book: John Muir Trail, The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail. I also printed off Section H of Halfmile’s PCT map’s (which I still have to locate, or reprint…), as well as used several other internet sources for planning. Then of course there are also groups on Yahoo and Facebook that are also quite valuable.

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These books and maps are quite good. I particularly like Elizabeth Wenk’s book as it provides a wealth of information. Its 280+ pages consists of tables filled with tons of information on campsites (such as mileage, elevations, coordinates and descriptions), as well as water sources, food storage box locations, and even plants found along the trail! Her book also goes over some basic history surrounding the trail, a little about trip planing and information about the permit process, contains list’s of emergency contacts for different area’s along the length of the trail, provides lists of different types of transportation to and from (different sections of) the trail, and includes resupply information and the side trails to nearby towns.

The heart of her guide-book breaks down the 211 mile long trail into 13 separate sections, each going into a bit more detail about those specific sections, complete with maps and legends, elevation profiles, and some nice black and white photo’s that even label the surrounding peaks! Also, on a lesser note, I am happy that this book is written on a north to south basis, as that is the direction I would prefer to hike this trail, which makes it easier than trying to read it backwards. This book is packed to the gills with information and details about the JMT, yet I find that it’s still an enjoyable book to simply read through! I do believe this will be a valuable tool in helping me prepare for what to expect once I finally make it to the JMT!

It seems that a pretty popular carry option for many JMT hikers is Erik the Black’s JMT Pocket Atlas, and I can see why. At only 2.5 oz it is pretty light weight, however, it’s packed heavy with information! This guide breaks the trail into 14 sections, each section with a 2 page colored map, complete with marked key points, miles and elevation profiles. The rest of the book is filled with information on side trails and alternate routes, resupply guides, town maps, GPS waypoints, transportation, permits, hike planing, campsites, water sources and trail head information. All of this information is cram packed into this light, 21 page (42 pages if you count front and back of each page) 5″ x 8″ book! Now, being 5″ x 8″ I wouldn’t call it “pocket-able” but it is small enough to store in my pack pretty easily! I could definitely see myself carrying this guide-book with me while actually on the JMT. Saying that, I do wish this guide were made with a more durable, waterproof and tear-resistant paper…

The National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of the JMT is also a pretty nice map and is similar to Erik the Black’s guide. It has some basic information about permits, access points, transportation, re-supplies and waypoints, however, what sets this map/book apart is that it is made with a waterproof, tear-resistant paper and the maps are just a bit more detailed. At 3.2 oz the Nat Geo map is slightly heavier than the Pocket Atlas, but my biggest complaint about this map is that it is in a book format. I figure it would have been quite large if it were a fold out map, although I think I would have enjoyed that format better than stapled together pages. I do think it is worth considering for carrying on the trail though, and I know many hikers have.

And last but not least (from my collection), the MapDana pocket profile map is the lightest of them all at only 0.14 oz, however, in my opinion, these maps are best as supplemental maps, at least in unknown area’s. I  do carry these (alone) when on my AT section hikes, but I (or someone else in my group) are already pretty familiar with the area’s where we will be hiking at (plus, like good hikers, we always do a bit of pre-trip research). Saying this, I likely wouldn’t carry this pocket profile map with me on the JMT (I would rather carry Erik The Black’s guide, or the Nat Geo TI map, which would make this map redundant), but for planning it is nice to be able to lay out a single, continuous elevation profile so that I can easily glance at the changes/profile.

Also worth mentioning, Halfmile’s PCT maps (Section H in particular for the JMT), are great for printing out and using for pre-trip planing. I personally wouldn’t carry these on the trail simply because there are so many different pages, but they are detailed, and I know that there are folks that do opt to carry them. As a bonus, they are free!

I am also planning to eventually download the Guthook’s JMT guide on my iPhone (although, but the time this hike takes place I will have the newest iPhone 8(?) at that time, so I am not planning on getting this app until later). I have never used his apps before but I do know folks that have (in particular, for the AT), and they have great things to say about them. I think this app would complement either Erik the Black’s guide, or the Nat Geo TI map rather well, and with no weight penalty!

One other popular map that many seem to use for the JMT is the Tom Harrison map set. I have heard lots of great things about this map set, however, with all the maps and guides I already have (especially in conjunction with the wealth of information available right at my finger tips, here on the net) I don’t feel like I need to purchase this set too. I have a feeling it will offer the same information as what I already have.

Other than these books and maps, there are also a number of other online trip reports, trail journals and videos to watch on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as other sites to keep myself caught up in the JMT dream. One other notable film that I enjoy watching on occasion is Mile… Mile & a Half from The Muir Project. (And by the way, through the end of December 2016, this movie (and other items on the site) is 25% off when using the code “MMAAH”… so, if you don’t have it yet, or haven’t seen it yet, pick it up! It’s available as a download, DVD or BluRay… I personally like the BluRay! I liked it so much I even purchased a second DVD to use as a give away when it came out.) In case you haven’t seen it, here is a trailer from that movie:

As I said, it was only just a couple of days ago that we officially started discussing the possibility of doing this hike. Of course I really, really, really want to do this hike, and being that we are thinking about doing it in  the summer of 2018, I believe that I should be able to make it happen, assuming nothing out of the ordinary comes up between now and then. So yes, I am giddy with excitement… And yes, there is a lot of stuff for us to still figure out, and that’s ok with me. I think I have some good resources to get started with!

And of course I have already been working on a gear list for the hike… trying to decide what else I may “need” to buy (such as trading in my BV500 for a Bearikade Weekender?!) The west coast is a totally different beast from the east coast, and some of the rules are a bit different… but this is fine with me! I enjoy researching these kinds of things… 🙂

I can say that at this point, we would like to complete the trail in 14-ish day’s. Besides an itinerary and all the other things I have already mentioned, I am also thinking about all the different options for actually getting there and back. We have discussed a few scenario’s, but for now, my goal is to study up on all things JMT as much as possible until it’s time to cross our fingers and submit our permits! Once we get our specific dates, then I can begin making hard plans for getting there and back…

So, for those that have hiked the trail (or just know the area), please feel free to provide any tips, tricks, or advice that you feel is worthy of passing on. As well, feel free to leave links to trip reports, videos, gear lists, or just plain good old resources… Until I am actually on the trail, I enjoy diving into as much content as I can! Planning the hike can be just as exciting, and with a full year and a half to go, I should have plenty of time to get as familiar as possible with what to expect…

So, until later, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and an exciting new year!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I purchased all content mentioned in this post with my own money. As well, this post does not contain any affiliate links, so basically, I am not being paid in any way for sharing any of this information. It’s just my opinion…

Also, a special thanks to Chris Smead for allowing me to share his film here in my post!

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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33 Responses to If I’m Going to Dream, then I’m Dreaming Big!!!

  1. Pingback: JMT Trip Planing: Cook Kits | Stick's Blog

  2. Nice collection of info on the JMT. I will likely be looking into some of the books out of interest. The odds in getting permits seems incredibly rough wow. On bigger trips sometimes having a few good alternate plans ready to go in the bag can be advantageous and help avoid disappointment. If the JMT is the only plan and some part of it goes bust(aka. hiking buddy gets sick and you are faced with doing the complete trail alone) it could be a bit of a bummer. I’m not saying don’t aim for the stars, indeed do, but casting a wider net can lead to a better end experience for all. An alternate plan could include the reverse direction or, showing up for a drop in permit. Or, plan for 2 weeks in the Sierras, 2 x 1 week trips etc.. or even 3 x 4/5 day trips. I would also consider weighing the costs between driving, flying & trains (hehe). While the car may seem the most economical it can start to add up if you include overnight stays, food, gas… car mileage/usage. There is also a train line called the Sunset Limited (okay I think trains are awesome) where you can book a family room and let someone else handle the transport. I love road trips and all but then your combining two bigger trips together which is great if that is your intent. Driving across country is fun once (one way.. twice is work :P). Getting there is half the battle as they say… Happy planning 🙂

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Christy! And yes, we are taking all of these things into consideration! Actually, this isn’t the first time that we have planned a similar trip, we have thought about this a few times, but for one reason or another alway’s went with something else. This time though, we are aiming for this one! 🙂

      There are 2 things that worry me. #1 is permits. For this, I am planning to start somewhere other than HI to help increase my odds (although, it will be like my 5th option for a start). #2 is acclimating. This is where driving will come in handy. Since we are all going, I will have access to a vehicle while I am there a few days before I start to hike. I know gabs and hotels add up, but compared to 4 round trip tickets, along with extra $$ to get to and from everywhere once there, I think the gas will be a much less expensive option.

      Also, our group has first increased, then decreased. It went from 4 to 6, now it looks like it will instead be 2 sets of 3. I know that accidents and unexpected things happen though, but that is a chance we always take. I was talking with my buddy Benny the other night, and we actually talked about how most hikes don’t go as planned, so yeah, bail outs and alternative choices are always figured in.

      Speaking of which, I am also looking at a few other options while there if we don’t get our permits, not to mention, I am planning to apply for both directions and taking the best of which ever one we get, or the only one we get. At this point, I am planning to spend some time in the Sierra’s, whether it’s on a JMT thru hike or not… although, obviously a JMT is our first choice! 🙂

      And yeah, I understand getting there is a huge battle… actually at this point I am figuring it’s more like 3/4 the battle! LOL… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!

      ~Stick~

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    • Thanks for the update. Sorry about my rambling thoughts, I have much respect for your blog and information posted and realize you have lots of experience planning. I agree that getting there can be more than half the battle but not a lot of people go into details about what options they have considered or tried and what they do not do for next time. The planning portion really interests me (travel to/from & backpack) as they have been hard learned lessons on a few occasions personally. Looking forward to hearing how the plans roll out even if the trip is a bit away, it’s great to read all about it. Wishing you luck on your permit and thanks again for all the info.

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    • Stick says:

      No worries… I enjoy rambling thoughts myself… lol! 🙂

      Yeah, this trip will be my biggest planned trip ever! I will admit, I wish it didn’t require so much planning, but there are sooo many variable in play that a successful trip will happen 1 of 2 ways… 1 is by sheer luck, and the other is by tedious planning. I am not the kind of person that makes it off of luck, so I am left to planning… Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, but wow, it really does require a ton of work!

      As I mentioned, at this point, driving there with the wife is how we anticipate getting there (which I must add, my wife is excited about considering her any my daughter will get to do some more traveling to new lands once they drop my son and I off!) Getting back will likely require a flight, so there is some planning there, but I will not focus on that until I actually get dates for the hike. At this point, me, my son and my buddy Benny will be in our hiking group, so we will be able to split some costs throughout the entire trip.

      Of course planning the actual hike is going to be the toughest part, especially now. I want to apply for a walk both directions, then either go with the one I got, or pick the one that is the best if I get both… in between, well, that will be just as much fun!

      Anyway, I plan to post some more about it before the time comes, of course. I am planning a write up on my Arc Blast soon, but with something new for it, which I will need for the JMT hike! 🙂

      Anyway, as usual, thanks again for stopping by! I always appreciate your comments!

      ~Stick~

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  3. Great to hear that you’re thinking of hiking the JMT. I hiked in 2015 and loved every mile of it!

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    • Stick says:

      I am looking at your site now. Very informative! I will definitely spend more time on it in the days to come! Thanks!

      ~Stick~

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chad,
      I went with a group of 5 friends from HI to TM. We took 3 days then we followed Trail to Peak’s itinerary closely from TM to WP (10 days). His site is a great resource.
      Day 1: HI to LYV
      Day 2: LYV to Sunrise
      Day 3: Sunrise to TM
      3 in our group left from TM to go back to work then me and my hiking partner started putting in some miles.
      Day 4: after waiting in line for a walk up permit we hiked from TM to about 3 miles north of Island pass
      Day 5: we hiked to Reds Meadow
      Day 6: Red to Silver Pass Lake
      Day 7: Silver Pass lake to Marie Lake
      Day 8: Marie Lake to Colby Meadow
      Day 9: Colby Meadow to Grouse Meadow
      Day 10: Grouse Meadow to Marjorie Lake
      Day 11: Marjorie Lake to Vidette Meadows
      Day 12: Vidette to Crabtree Meadows
      Day 13: Crabtree to Whitney Portal

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks for the itinerary! I was looking over Trail to Peak last night and it looked quite good. I will have to get on it again later tonight on my computer (rather than my phone) and look at it a bit more.

      I was actually talking with some of the guys last night, and due to time constraints that we each have, we will likely now be in 2 different groups, unlikely together on the trail. Saying that, I have a little more time than some of the others, so my son and I and one other guy are actually now looking to do it in 15 – 16 days with one day in the middle as more of a relax day near MTR to resupply, eat, and recharge some batteries (both electronic, and ours!) Also, I think I am going to try to start at Lyell (TM) and do HI to TM as a day hike. I am also wanting to get a permit to go up to Half Dome one day, but will have to figure out how that works… Good thing I have plenty of time!

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

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  4. Chad,
    Do it! I did it this past July in 13 days and I definitely think 14 days is very reasonable. I prepped using the Tom Harrison maps and used Guthook’s app on the trail. I can’t recommend his app highly enough. The toughest thing about the trail is getting a permit. 😉 I ended up getting walk up permits for the whole trail. I know it’s a little scary to fly out here on the hopes of walk ups but would do it if that was your only option. DM on IG if you have questions. We follow each other. You’re going to love it!!! -Don (wandering_biped)

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    • Stick says:

      Don,

      I agree, the permits have me nervous! But, we will try and see what happens… I am planning to spend 2 full days there before I begin my hike so that I can begin to acclimate, so that might be a possibility for me, but as you mentioned, I would hate to fly all the way out in hopes of a walk-up permit, especially for a group of us (which at this moment is as many as 6). Also, if you wouldn’t mind, would you mind sharing your itinerary since you hiked it in the same speed as we are looking. Also, I assume you use a tent, but some of the guys in our group will be hammocking… how would you say it will be for them looking for good spots to hang from each night. We read that Evolution and Guitar Lake are 2 problem area’s for hammocks. Any tips or suggestions for that?

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

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    • Chad,

      Yes, I’m a lowly ground dweller. 😉 My favorite place to camp were above the tree line (~10,000′) at some high alpine lakes. There are really no places to hang. It’s seems really easy to find places to hang below 8k so maybe plan accordingly. I don’t know much about hammock camping but maybe your set up involves an “over tarp” that’s separate that can be used on the ground when needed. I wouldn’t worry too much about acclimating if your going SOBO. Yosemite Valley where you start is around 6k and you won’t have any problems there. You’ll have to spend at least on night there. I came from sea level. I didn’t see anyone with any altitude sickness but if it happens it seems to start around the 10k range. You wouldn’t hit 10k until Donohue Pass in around the 3rd day. If you haven’t hiked in the West, you’re mind will be BLOWN!!!!!!! I’ll find my itinerary and email it to you along with my resupply thoughts.

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  5. Jon says:

    Any rough idea when you’ll be going? I’m planning a summer 2018 JMT hike, and maybe I’ll run into you! I was going to do it this year, but my hiking partner for the trip (who’s in the military) was deployed unexpectedly and I didn’t want to go solo.

    Like you, I’ve wanted to do the JMT for a long time. Adult life makes it difficult to squeeze in the leave, but I’ve recently started graduate school full-time, and summer 2018 is looking pretty empty.

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    • Jon says:

      I should probably clarify that my question concerns which part of summer 2018 you’ll be going. Re-reading my comment, I realize that it’s a bit unclear.

      I’m hoping for a mid to late July start date.

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    • Stick says:

      Jon,

      I think we may start applying for an early July start and go from there. Not 100% sure yet though. I just hope we have our dates sometime early to mid January!

      Maybe we will see each other out there!

      ~Stick~

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  6. Dale Stuart says:

    Yes, as all have said – the JMT is amazing.  There is a JMT group on yahoo which has many helpful post/maps etc.For travel, you can come in via Bay area.  But it will involve trains, planes, and automobiles.  :-)I have always flown in to Mammoth Lakes, spent the night in local camp ground and took shuttle into park.  Then acquired the permit and started next morning.This gives you a couple of nights above 8ooo’ for acclimation.Thomas maps  are plenty, they also give you surrounding area trails in case you need to bail out for some reason (eric the black maps are pretty centered on just the trail)I used a BV500 on my trips- resupply Toulumne Meadows, Muir Trail Ranch. For me, the hiking plan you lay out is worthless after the first few days.   Your mileage/goals change quite a bit.  You start slow because of elevation gain and altitudes and then pick it up as you get acclimated and get your trail legs under you.  I started out doing about 10-12 miles first 3 days.  By MTR I was easily doing 15-20 miles/day  (my trip was 16 days) I have done the JMT South bound, North bound and modified version where I caught the JMT Northbound after dong the High Sierras Trail from Sequoia NP. I hope it all works out for you and have a great time – you won’t be disappointed other than when you sectional hike the AT  again after knowing what the real OUTDOORS are like.  😉 -Dale 

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    • Stick says:

      Dale,

      Thanks for all the info!

      Right now I am looking at driving in with my wife and kids. She cold drop me exactly where I need to be (after camping with me a night or 2 first) and then she and my daughter can road trip it back home! Of course there is a year and a half between now and then, but at the moment, that is kind of what we are thinking. Also, some of the others going are likely going to be driving, so I could ride back with them!

      Folks keep saying Mammoth Lakes though.. I will look into that area!

      I haven’t looked at the Tom Harrison maps, but may pick them up eventually just because they are another source that are heavily repeated. The Nat Geo TI map does include a few other side trails and the such too… I figure between all of us we could likely have a number of different map options. Also, Joe is kind of a map guy, so it sounds like he is going to keep us pretty informed! lol…

      I do have a BV500 (and a BV450) right now, but would like to get a Bearikade since it would fit in my pack a little better, and it’s lighter. Besides, I will need a second canister if my son does go… He’s younger and stronger, so he can carry the heavier BV500… lol!

      I agree too in that an itinerary between the beginning and the end wouldn’t likely last, but I do like having a rough plan… this way I can leave it with my wife so she would have an idea of about where I should be. At this point I am not planning on bringing a SPOT or anything, but again, between the group, and now and then, that could change.

      And I hear ya… when I did a week long hike in the Olympics a couple of years back, it was totally different from the AT! And I can imagine that the JMT is going to be a little step farther than that! However, I am excited to get out in the mountains whenever I can… 🙂

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

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  7. Dana says:

    Definitely go for the Bearikade! If not for the weight savings, but the tube like design is much more efficient and easier to pay than the BV.

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    • Stick says:

      Dana,

      I agree… it is a better design, and lighter. I have a feeling I likely will end up with one… 🤗

      ~Stick~

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    • Ravi says:

      I have a custom 12″ bearikade with 750 cubic inches of capacity. I typically use 100-110 cubic inches of capacity per day so this fits about 7 days of food plus you can carry the first day of food outside the canister (since it will be eaten prior to going to sleep). You can order a bearikade in any size you want which is great. They are very expensive but the nice thing is that there is a good resale market. I had multiple offers to buy my canister for around $50 less than I paid for it just when chatting about it on discussion forums (I wasn’t trying to sell). You can also rent a bearikade but buying & reselling is a good alternative.

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    • Stick says:

      Ravi,

      Yeah, I see those pop up on BPL on occasion and they don’t tend to last long, and go for a good price. I will likely go with the weekender, but when the time comes was looking at the custom ones too… I will have to figure out my food volume a bit more… something I don’t have to do often since my hikes are generally just a few days long!

      ~Stick~

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  8. It’s awesome walk. Did it in ’15 with my 11 year old and wife. We skipped the climb out of the valley and started at Lyle Canyon. Fourteen days will be a pretty good push. It certainly can be done, but you’d be wise to have some elevation acclimation and a lot of miles on your legs prior to starting. We took it nice and slow up to the Muir Trail Ranch resupply where we had to pick up the pace to finish without carrying too much food.
    Best of luck on the permits!

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Michael! I do plan to spend a couple of days in the area around 8 – 10000 feet before we start our hike. As well, if we can start at Happy Isle, that will give me another day of lower elevation to help out with the process. Altitude sickness is my biggest concern (next to getting permits), so I will be doing all I can to prevent that! And I agree, 14 days will be a tad fast, however, I am trying to keep my time off work to 3 weeks total. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I don’t think the pace will be too much for us based on the hikes we have done in the past. I also know it’s a bit different hiking out west than it is here in the east, but that’s ok too. 🙂

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

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    • Ravi says:

      My experience on the AT is mostly in the mid-Atlantic and I’d say that the big difference between the east coast foot trails and the JMT is that the JMT is graded for horses and switchbacks make it less steep. However, I’ve found that this is counteracted by elevation. I can cover about 2-2.5 miles per hour on the JMT and a bit more on the AT in Virginia. 14 days is definitely possible imo. This year I hiked the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadows in Sequoia NP to Mt Whitney and then the JMT to Reds, which was about 260 miles with a couple side trips, in 14 days with two half days in the mix. My first JMT was SOBO and took 20 days but I took it real slow and had three full zeros. With your experience, having followed all of your trip reports, I think 14 days is totally doable imo.

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    • Stick says:

      Ravi,

      That is good to hear! It sounds like our paces may be about the same. And I believe you are right, the elevation will be the biggest thing that I will need to account for. I will do my best to make sure I am physically able to hike the miles before arriving, however, it will be up to my body to decide if it is ok with it or not!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. Ravi says:

    SOBO is definitely a great choice! The permits are an issue but there are ways to increase the odds. Mile for mile the JMT is the most amazing trail I’ve hiked.

    Merry Christmas!

    Like

  10. Cris says:

    Merry Christmas, Stick! You’re going to love the JMT! I would definitely plan on getting Guthook’s app! It’s a very, very good app for the AT, but it’s an even bigger help on the JMT! It saved me from wasting a lot of time making sure that I knew where I was. The JMT group on FB will be another huge help! The rangers thought it was funny that a guy from Alabama could get on and off the JMT so creatively, and it was definitely thanks to that crew.

    You have been a fantastic hiking resource for me — I can’t wait to follow your JMT adventure!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Cris,

      Thanks for the info about the app. I will definitely be getting it for my phone. And I am a member of the Facebook group so I will frequent that site too!

      I got your email also. I will reply later today! Thanks!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  11. Chris Smead says:

    Heya Stick! In addition to Erik the Blacks guidebook, I really like his wall map for planning purposes. I used little arrow stickers to notate my itinerary, and then cut out a little picture of myself that my kids moved on the map everyday until I came home. 🙂
    The map sequences in the film were actually that exact map. (Used with permission of course)
    I just keyed out the background and added the animations on top of it.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      I have that map too, although I think it was a bit damaged when it showed up. As a bonus though my son has expressed an interest in going so we are going to see about that. That would be great if he did!

      And that is cool the way you animated your film. I enjoyed those bits!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  12. Ravi says:

    Stick, the permit situation is slot easier going Northbound than southbound. I’ve hiked the trail SOBO once and NOBO 1 1/2 times (once as part of a 850 mile PCT Section starting at the border) and I actually like NOBO a little better. I’d suggest entering at Horseshoe Meadows rather than Whitney Portal because the permit will be easier to get and you’ll have more time to acclimate. It adds a little bit to the distance but you’ll get some PCT miles in as a bonus. There’s a ton of specific info on permits on the JMT Yahoo group and the Facebook JMT group.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Ravi for the info. We have discussed a little about direction of travel, and I think for my first hike I would enjoy a SOBO hike a bit more simply so I could start lower and finish at Whitney, which seems right to me… you know, the big finale! At this point I think it is the general consensus that we all want to head south too… saying that, I think we will take whatever we can get! Also, I am a member of the FB JMT page, which is great, and IIRC, last year when I started researching the JMT I also signed up in the Yahoo group too… I just gotta remember my sign in info!

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate the info!

      ~Stick~

      Like

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