170 Miles in the Sierra Nevada

isleroyaleguy

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
167
Doug and Anita Tour 2016



Everyone that has hiked the John Muir trail knows the extensive amount of planning involved. We had 4 resupply buckets to prepare
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with our 20+ days of grub.
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Flights and shuttles and cabin reservations, permits and licenses. Not to mention the constant physical preparation. We had been hiking around home with a full pack for 6 months prior. Everything needed to be in place. Sounds like a lot of work, but we really enjoyed the planning process too.

So our trip literally began (and ended) with a " planes, trains and automobiles " scenario.

We first flew into San Francisco. Then took the BART train to Richmond CA. Where we were met by our wonderful trail angels Mike and Paula. They had graciously invited us into their home for a night. We had a fun evening of dinner and drinks, a great start to our adventure.
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Up early the next day, greeted with a delicious homemade breakfast, and Mike dropped us off right at the Amtrak station for our next leg of the trip. 3 hrs on train brought us to Merced CA.
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Where we transferred to the YARTS bus. 2 hrs later we were rolling into Yosemite National Park. Our home for the next two nights.
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Like all national parks, Yosemite Valley was very busy and crowded, but we didn't mind. We were finally here after months of planning. The park was magical to us at this moment. Half Dome, El Capitan, the huge trees, the waterfalls! Everything was new to us. So we took it all in.
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We had been applying for a Half Dome permit every chance we get, but had been rejected multiple times. We were so hoping to get a chance to climb this iconic mountain.

We never got the permit. 0 fer 7.

But we did spend the next two days putting on some miles up to Nevada and Vernal falls and beyond. Lambert Dome, Dog lake and Tuolumne Meadows.
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Lambert Dome

There is so much to see here. Two days wasn't going to be enough.

We were disappointed that the Mariposa Grove was closed for restoration so we missed out on seeing these ancient historical trees. But there were impressive stands all through the park and on the JMT.
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Couldn't get enough of the magnificent trees here.

We had plenty of reasons to come back to Yosemite in the future.


I won't spend a lot of time on trail description. There are plenty of books an online resources for that.
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But there will be a common thread of all the wonderful people we met along the way.

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I will say this about the trails. They are challenging, everyday.
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Often steep up and down. From soft dusty sand and pumice to hard granite steps and loose rocks and plenty of ankle twisting boulders and seeming endless switchbacks.
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Elevations from 7900 to 12000 ft. Usually on same day. Everyday.
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Tough, yes. But incredibly rewarding.
Everyday.

We really enjoyed our time in Yosemite and hated to leave, the Valley was warm, near 90°everyday. We swam in the river each evening to sooth the aches and pains.

Up near Tuolumne Meadows it was cool, less crowded, and had the backpacker vibe going on.
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On our last shuttle I recognized a face from the JMT Facebook.

Alex from Seattle.
The start of our trail family.
Along with Alex, we got to know some awesome people in the two weeks we were on the trail.
Chris from Truckee.
Blue man Dan,
Anjou and Rebecca from France
Mark from Minnesota....Oh Ya!
Evelyn and Paul from Tennessee
The Beach Body couple from LA
The 3 guys always chasing the 2 girls.
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We really enjoyed the social aspect of the trip.
Everyone standing around with taped up toes, recounting the days journey.
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We would cross paths a lot over the next two weeks.

For us it is on to June Lake for final JMT preparations.


I had asked the YARTS bus driver how far the bus stop at the ski area was from the Reverse Creek Lodge, our home for the next two nights.

Not far, 3/4 mile...maybe, he said..

We had walked 30 miles or so in Yosemite.

We were tired and sore. But another 3/4 mile....easy.

But the nice driver dropped us right at the front door of Reverse Creek. See what I mean about the people we met.
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We had a beautiful cabin at Reverse Creek Lodge. Dave and his family were so helpful to us. They even borrowed us their Jeep so we could drive into Lee Vining to pick up our wilderness permit.
Rush Creek , Inyo National Forest.
Would be our entry.
And we were able to add a Whitney exit.
Everything was falling into place.
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We had a couple of relaxing days in this beautiful area. Did laundry. Loaded up on carbs. Had a few cocktails.

We had seen our trailhead and the surrounding mountains and have to admit that it was kind of intimidating.
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Pre-game jitters were setting in. Were we ready? We would find out tomorrow.
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Our first day was like the many to follow. Challenging.
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But we hiked further then planned, the scenery kept drawing you forward. While we had planned on 8-10 miles a day, we were more in the 12 -15 mile range.
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Elevation was substantial and we diligently climbed 2500-3500 ft each day, and descended just as fast.
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Each day we were spent, but we recovered quickly and were always ready for the next day.
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The California weather is beautiful. It rained for 20 mins, in the 3 weeks we were there. Sunny and 69° each day.
Lows in the 40's, even some frosty night's.
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We took advantage of every resupply point we could.
It kept us light until we got our hiking legs.
It also added so much to our adventure.
We got to enjoy a shower and giant burger and a beer at Reds Meadow for our first resupply.
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Devils Postpile


Our second was Vermillion Valley Ranch. Where we met some great people, did laundry, shower and more food and beers.

Ferry ride to VVR
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But our favorite stop was Muir Trail Ranch.
Here we were treated to home cooked meals and private hot springs along with a cozy cabin for a night.
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It was a welcome relief after 100 miles of foot pounding, dusty trail.
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We had to rinse our clothes 3 times after hand washing, still had brown water.
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We were constantly amazed at the size of pine trees and aspen groves, truly a unique towering forest.
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We were thankful for them. These giants provided much needed shade.
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Up until this point we had been carrying 4-5 days of food between stops. But now we were faced with 9 days worth for the last 100 miles.
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We made the tough decision to cut our trip short. Knowing these rugged trails now, we weren't comfortable adding more pack weight.
We decide to exit over Bishop Pass, still 4-5 days ahead.
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So we didn't make it to Whitney....this time.
We are ready to go back and finish that last 6 days.
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We had an incredible trip. Still think about it daily.
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It was really hard to adjust to daily life once it was over.

We had a few days before our flight out, so we spent them in Yosemite. Got a chance to hike to Clouds Rest. Another incredible day.

We were disappointed that we didn't finish the JMT,
but we were proud of our effort and thankful for what we got to see and do.
Just a handful of numbers.

Island Pass 10,221 ft
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Silver Pass 10,794 ft
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Selden Pass 10,898 ft
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Muir Pass 11,955 ft
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Bishop Pass 11,972 ft
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Clouds Rest 10,000 ft
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So I must end with a Muir quote:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul"
John Muir.

But another verse kept going thru my head:

"We're out here having fun, in the warm California sun"
The Ramones
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Take Care
Doug and Anita
 
Last edited:

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,099
Holy freaking cow guys!! What an amazing trip. That country is sublime. Way to put the time into getting to enjoy it. Thank you for letting me vicariously live through you, the way my time works that country is a pipe dream for me.
 

Deleted User

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Aug 5, 2016
Messages
294
Nice one! I have wanted to do this for years! Its on the bucket list! How much did it cost you to set up your resupply? Was it difficult to manage getting what you needed to the spots you were shooting for?
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
878
Awesome stuff Doug! Thanks for the write up. At some point soon I've gonna have to venture over that way to do this.

It rained for 20 mins, in the 3 weeks we were there. Sunny and 69° each day.

Wow! I don't think I went a week this whole summer without getting hit with a storm. I've had several people tell me how good the weather is in the Sierra's in the summer, and I just thought they were exaggerating. Sounds like its true.
 

Dan_85

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Jul 25, 2013
Messages
226
Wow! I don't think I went a week this whole summer without getting hit with a storm. I've had several people tell me how good the weather is in the Sierra's in the summer, and I just thought they were exaggerating. Sounds like its true.

In comparison to elsewhere it is pretty good I think, but it can get hit pretty hard too. The last few summers have had several prolonged periods of heavy, monsoonal rain and even snow for days, even weeks at a time. In fact, last summer on July 9th, it snowed heavily enough to close Highway 120 that enters Yosemite from the East. There was none of that this year. Typically you can expect a typical Sierra thunderstorm maybe once or twice a week - 20/30 mins of rain mid-afternoon before it blows through. Everyone on the Sierra groups and forums has been commenting how exceptionally hot and dry this summer was, and how challenging it made hiking. I barely even saw a cloud whilst I was out there and got just 20 mins of rain on my last day. The tops of my hands got fairly well tanned, but I got off lightly - I've read a lot of stories of people leaving the Sierra because of the heat this year.
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,384
Very, very nice IsleRoyal.

The Range of Light is world renowned for great weather and I am glad it served it up for you. I am beyond amazed that you planned and executed this from your home, long distance. Good on ya! Great pics and great adventure. Leaves you the rest to do in the future :)
 

isleroyaleguy

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
167
Nice one! I have wanted to do this for years! Its on the bucket list! How much did it cost you to set up your resupply? Was it difficult to manage getting what you needed to the spots you were shooting for?

The resupply worked perfectly. Everything was were it was supposed to be.
Not cheap. Probably had $400 in related costs.
Next time I would rely solely on the hiker overflow barrels. They were always teaming with anything you would need.
 

isleroyaleguy

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
167
Awesome stuff Doug! Thanks for the write up. At some point soon I've gonna have to venture over that way to do this.



Wow! I don't think I went a week this whole summer without getting hit with a storm. I've had several people tell me how good the weather is in the Sierra's in the summer, and I just thought they were exaggerating. Sounds like its true.

Thanks @Joey
Its really eating at me to go back and finish sometime soon.
But right now we are setting our sites on a Glacier/ Sawtooth adventure for next year.
Maybe we can meet up again.
DA
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
I'll definitely need to do this sometime. Thanks for the show.
 

riverrunner03

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2015
Messages
6
Hey isleroyalguy,
I have my eye on doing a section of the JMT next year. Just wondering if you found it as rewarding as the Teton Crest Trail from last year (I was just a day behind you guys then) or the Wind River range.
Also, which section was your favorite?
 

isleroyaleguy

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
167
Hey isleroyalguy,
I have my eye on doing a section of the JMT next year. Just wondering if you found it as rewarding as the Teton Crest Trail from last year (I was just a day behind you guys then) or the Wind River range.
Also, which section was your favorite?
Yes, it was incredibly rewarding. The Sierra's are immense. We love the Teton's and the Wind's and Glacier. And now include Yosemite in that list.
It's worth it alone to hike the trails in the park.
Definitely more elevation gain and loss, then anything we had done before.
Once your on the trail, your constantly in the company of 13,000 to over 14,000 ft peaks. Deep, carved, forested valleys.
Scenery changes constantly. Endless different Vistas. All in the California sun.
Definitely worth it.
Can't wait to get back to finish.
Even if we know how tough it will be again.
D
 

Tim Valentine

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Joined
May 24, 2015
Messages
102
Way to go you two. You pulled it off. Whitney is not going anywhere. You might as well come back again since you seemed so familiar with everything.
 
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