Hiking the first/second segment of the John Muir Trail

9:56 p.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Hey everyone

This is my first post on here. 

so me the gf and a few buddies are planning on hiking the first segment of the jmt. start yosemite valley and exit devils post pile/mammoth. we are also planning on hiking half dome within the first day or two. i have done my research and have a general idea of what to expect but i love personal experiences and tips. so if you guys have any that would be awesome.

im planning on buying the sierra Designs revival 65l (im hiking with my gf so i have someone else to help carry items) is that big enough? this will probably be the longest hike for now so i dont want to buy a 75 or even 80l cuz i feel it would be overkill for weekend trips.

how long should i expect it to take? we dont want to rush it but dont want to hike only 6 miles a day. im expecting to hike 10 miles a day average.

is there plenty of places to camp? creeks/streams/lakes? get away from the crowds?

any info will help

thanks

10:09 p.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Re: Hiking the first segment of the John Muir Trail

Hey Chris, welcome to Trailspace. 

I moved this thread from Backcountry to Trip Planning being the questions you have fit the criteria of the Trip Planning forum a bit better. 

Just wanted to give ya a heads up so you are not left scratching your head wondering what happened.

In regards to your inquiry on whether or not the Revival 65 will be big enough....

Its kinda individual and depends on your kit.

My suggestion would be to take all of your gear to the outfitter and see if it fits in the pack. This may sound somewhat crazy but you are not the 1st or the last that will be utilizing this method of fitting a pack to your needs.

That pack has been reviewed here. Ya may want to take a look at the review. It may answer some of your questions you may have in regards to this model.

Here is a link to the review:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/sierra-designs/revival-65/review/23132/

Now concerning the general question you have in regards to this area and length of time to complete I really cannot really answer that being I have yet to get out that way. 

Half Dome is on my short list(next 2yrs.)

I am sure that someone with alot more knowledge/familiarity will chime in here and give you some answers in regards to your inquiries.

Once again, welcome to Trailspace.

I hope the knowledge and info here serve you well and look forward to seeing ya around on the boards. 

Happy hiking-Rick

10:46 p.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Re: Hiking the first segment of the John Muir Trail

It's about 57 miles from Yosemite Valley to Devil's Postpile, so gauge your time accordingly.  I hike at a moderate pace and like to average 8-10 miles/day, so I would do that section in about six days.  Add days for doing Half Dome and any other layovers.

Make sure you get a permit to summit Half Dome, it's not easy any more.  Without a summit permit, you will be turned back at the base of the cables.  You may be able to get one with your JMT permit, check with Yosemite for details.  You could go to Little Yosemite Valley on the first day and summit Half Dome, and move a little further up the trail to camp to avoid all the crowds.  Make sure that if you drop your packs, you choose a good spot out of view of people, and put all food and articles with scent in your canisters separate from your packs so bears don't tear your pack apart looking for the source of the smell.

I have done most of that section, but not all of it.  I especially liked the southern end of the Lyell Fork and over Donohue Pass, Island Pass, and Thousand Island Lake.  Thousand Island Lake is spectacular, and you may want to spend a layover day there.

Campsites are plentiful.  Once you leave Little Yosemite Valley (and Tuolumne Meadows when you get there), you can camp wherever you want, as long as you are the required distance from bodies of water, etc.

Unless you leave the trail, expect people.  The JMT is popular.  And bear canisters are required on that entire section.

11:46 a.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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Welcome Gilkey

I was orginally planing on doing the JMT this summer, but pushed it back to next summer, I was/am worried about the potinial snow pack this year.  Although so far it should not be a issue.  (I have a few other trips planned too, so time was short) Anyway on to your questions.

10 miles a day is very doable, as long as your in OK shape, the elevation gain will be the biggest factor in zapping your strength.  But that all depends on were you live.  Denver, not so much, LA yea a lot. :)

I would also suggest that you do a resupply at Tuolumne Meadows, this would cut your food load in half. 

Form everything I have read, camping sites are plentiful and easy to find, for the most part at least. 

A couple issues that you should beware of is creek crossing, depending on snow melt and time of year, these can be quite changeling.  Also, again depending on snow, some of the passes may still have snow fields that would need to be crossed.  I don't think you would need an Ice axe, but that would be your call.  Micro spikes or the like may be a good idea though.  This all depends on when you actually hit the trail and the snow fall this year. 

I would also suggest that you camp at the base of a climb, and then start it first thing.  Ending the day with a long climb will really suck.  Add to that, "Climb high, sleep low" will help with the altitude adjustment.

I would think that a 65L pack would be fine.  It really all depends on what your load will be like.  You don't have to do the whole Ultra Lite thing, but lowering you over all weight and kit will make it a more enjoyable hike.  Who wants to carry 80lbs for a week plus!!  (Besides Tipi that is :D  See Tipi's trip reports for what I am talking about!!)

Let me know if you want some links to different web sites, I have about a dozen with lots of info on the JMT.  I would also suggest that you look through the trip reports section of this site and Trail Journals for trip reports on the JMT, they can be very helpful.

Any other questions?   Tents??  Sleeping bags??  Stoves??

Wolfman

12:58 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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Not sure how much you've hiked or what shape you are in.   I just took a quick look at the JMT on this website. http://postholer.com/gmap/gmap.php The trail appears to be fairly gentle when in the valleys, but there are some killer hills also.  Take a look at the "hill" right after the trail crosses Sunrise Creek. The creek is at 8400 about a mile later the trail is at 9600. In the five miles before Donahue pass you go from 9000 to 11000 with 2 really steep sections.  You may want to take those into account when planning.  

+1 on the resupply at Tuolumne Meadows

Remember to take your bear canister into account.  They aren't that light and they make a fairly bulky lump.  There are a couple of threads on here about how to carry them. 

Also depending on the temp you may need to take a winter temp compatible stove. 

 

1:58 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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thanks guys for all the info. i didnt even think about resupplying in tuolumne meadows. good call! 

@wolfman yes im from LA but im up in big bear (roughly >7000 alt.) doing hikes up there in the summer and snowboarding alot. so i would say im in better shape than most LA-ians. haha also im planning on getting a down sleeping bag. any recommendations? i was thinking of montbell down hugger super spiral #3. my buddy has one and its 1000 times better than my big 5 synthetic mummy bag. ha! it kept me warm but i literally had to sleep like a mummy and thats not comfy at all for me. if i have to sleep on my back my legs make this '4' shape and i can do that at all. but in the montbell with ease.  

tent: i have the slumberjack trail tent 2. i rather learn what not to do with a cheaper tent than ruin a expensive one.

i have a stove that works great but havent tested it in cold cold temp. ill bring it to big bear next time i head up there and test it out. its dropping to the teens right now at night. so that should give it the final test

i just applied for a permit and got denied. so im guessing this is the next biggest step to over come right now. 

again thanks for the help

such an awesome community this site is. 

5:20 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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Ideas on what time frame you hopping to go?

(The following all depends on snow and weather)

A good 20 degree bag should be fine for most of the summer.  Down is light and warm, just don't get it wet.

Tent should be fine, chance of snow is slim, some wind, and possibly rain, but it's not like the PNW. 

Any stove should be fine, canister or liquid.  As long as we are talking summer months.  Make sure you have a wind screen and something to set it on.

As for sleeping bags, if you get a right and left, well then you can stay a lot warmer with the two of them zipped together. :D  And I'll leave it at that.

Wolfman  :D

5:34 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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What kind of stove is it?  You mainly have to worry about canister gas (iso-butane/propane mix).  If it gets below 20 the gas doesn't like to vaporize as well. Not sure about alcohol stoves.

9:02 a.m. on February 5, 2012 (EST)
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If you are in “athletic” condition, ten mile days on the JMT are doable for you, but most females I have hiked with would not find that pace enjoyable.  If you wish to do future hikes with GF, consider a local hike up nearby San Gorgonio to gage her abilities and preferences.  Follow her lead.

Ed

12:56 a.m. on February 6, 2012 (EST)
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@whomeworry im not worried about my gf. im more worried about myself haha 

im planning on taking about 8 days to hike it. 1 for half dome and the rest for the trail. i figured late july i wouldnt have to worry about to much snow. 

the stove is a propane mix. im headed up to big bear this weekend. ill test it there to see how well it works. 

12:07 p.m. on February 6, 2012 (EST)
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Gilkey, what is your plan for maps?  I would recommend that you take some good maps or a trail atlas with you.  Some areas are easy to get lost in, at least that's what I have read.

That time a year your stove should be fine.  I think most of the people that are doing this trip and others like it are using canisters.  Me I like white gass, but it is a lot heaver. :(

Wolfman

8:00 a.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Canister stove in July should be ok. 

Usually snow pack residing late into the season is due to a big late season dump, versus high snow fall for the total season.  Thus it remain to be seen when the passes will be clear of snow.  If the season continues as is, the passes will clear pretty early for lack of snow fall.

As for getting away from the crowds, it is all relative.  You will be on the JMT, and that alone will mean regularly encountering other hikers, as well as posing a challenge to find a good tent site at some of the typical stops en route.

Ed

2:22 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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I JUST BOUGHT THE REVIVAL 65L!!!

it went on sale on The Clymb

got it for 145 out the door. so stoked!!! normally 250ish.

im going to get the Tom Harrison JMT map pack plus im going to get a compass and take a class at rei just to really feel comfortable using it.

i do have the iphone with the AccuTerra app which stores a topograph map on your phone so you dont need reception to use it. plus it uses gps. and i also have a gps unit on the side that i got for christmas.

im also planning on getting the Goal Zero solar panel kit for rechargeable batteries. do you guys recommend that or should i just stock up on batteries? lithium?

thanks again guys for all the help

9:02 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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Well you should be good on maps! :)  Good idea on the class, they also have GPS classes, that could help if your not up on the GPS stuff. 

As for recharging, funny but I just saw that Harbor Freight is now caring solar re-charger's at way less then what I have seen around.  Now given these will not be the most durable or the best quality, but heck the price is right!  

Wolfman

5:57 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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so since we are all men here....what do you guys wear for underwear?

im a hairy guy and lets just say after a while its not that pleasant down there haha and several days out on the trail could be scary haha

6:05 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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I clean daily on the trail with unscented baby wipes. I also use these to wipe my face, legs, etc. after a day of slogging around on the trail.

They help to prevent chafing as well. 

You could always go commando but regardless of what you wear you are still going to sweat in the "nether regions."

6:28 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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wet wipes are a must!  A daily wiping of the feet and unmentionable areas makes me a whole lot happier camper. Cuts down on odor and chaffing. Let em dry out while having breakfast and packing up then burn em with any other burnables before heading out. (if no fire restrictions ofcourse)

10:58 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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I use baby wipes. If you really have problems try this stuff.

http://www.bodyglide.com/

11:05 p.m. on February 14, 2012 (EST)
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Here is a past thread that has alot of advice on the whole keeping clean while on the trail subject. 

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/88428.html

Maybe you can skim through its content and pull some useful suggestions from this thread. 

5:14 a.m. on February 15, 2012 (EST)
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Gilkey said:

so since we are all men here....what do you guys wear for underwear?

im a hairy guy and lets just say after a while its not that pleasant down there haha and several days out on the trail could be scary haha

I completely wash daily with soap, water and a towel, after setting up camp, and wear fresh skin layers afterward.  I take three skin layers, and wash them as necessary.  Do body and laundry washing well away from water sources.  Any other alternative probably won't lead to romance with the GF.   I do this even when soloing, being clean and fresh feels so much better, significantly raising the pleasure quotient of camping.

Ed 

3:16 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Are you considering doing half dome from the Yosemite Valley on your first day? I would suggest against it. Do it in two and avoid backpackers campgrounds if you're well experienced.

Also, as one who has put in about 30 days a year in Yosemite's backcountry for the last five years or so, slow down. Relax. Most people I run into here are on a race to do mileage and to get places, but end up frustrated with trip that they feel they missed. Count on six miles a day, slow down and enjoy Yosemite. If you're ahead of schedule, explore or do a layover day. Just my 2¢!

3:40 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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JasonLooseArrow said:

..Most people I run into here are on a race to do mileage and to get places, but end up frustrated with trip that they feel they missed. Count on six miles a day, slow down and enjoy Yosemite. If you're ahead of schedule, explore or do a layover day. Just my 2¢!

Could not agree more!  This should be an experience, not an ordeal or homage to a tick list.  Six to eight miles is enough to gain a change of scenery without putting you out; meanwhile leaving enough of the day for side trips or just relaxing lakeside.

Ed

3:16 a.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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i agree about taking your time. we got our permit for july 14-23 but hiking it backwards i guess you could say (from mammoth/devilspostpile to YV) plan on doing half dome towards the last few days of the trip. so i think we have more than enough time to take it slow. i figure hiking more some days and other side route or fishing or whatever. im super stoked to be doing this hike. it will be my first week long trek. 

heres a list of what i got so far:

sierra designs revival 65l

exped airmat basic UL 7.5 (i sleep hot plus if need i have foam mats for insulation)

big 5 special 0 degree synthetic mummy sleeping bag (planning on upgrading this)

petzl tikka xp 2 headlamp

hi-tec propane/butane stove (another big5 special) will be testing this stove this weekend in the mountains in 17 degree weather...so we will see

also and backup the esbit stove.

titanium pot and pan

planning on getting the Steripen with pre-filter

what do you guys think?

4:21 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

What kind of stove is it?  You mainly have to worry about canister gas (iso-butane/propane mix).  If it gets below 20 the gas doesn't like to vaporize as well. Not sure about alcohol stoves.

 Alcohol stoves work just fine at altitude or in cold weather. They're not pressurized so they're not affected. The downside is that they need to be sheltered from the wind. A Trangia, though, comes with a windscreen.

4:47 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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That's a pretty heavy tent for backpacking, at 6 lbs. plus the wight of a footprint. I suggest you split the load with the GF. Make her carry the fly, footprint and poles, and you carry the tent body and pegs.

(Sounds fair to me!)

12:22 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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peter i have already replaced the stakes with 8 y-shaped aluminum ones (weighing a total 4ozs) which i think shaved off a pound-ish.  (the basic steel ones are heavy) and i found a site that i can get aluminum poles for about 70 bucks. that would shave off another 2lbs or so (fiberglass poles are extremely heavy). with these upgrade the tent total will still be 4 lbs or so and about 130 bucks so im happy (i got the tent off theclymb.com for 45 bucks and the stakes for 12). the tent itself with the fly (no footprint) is about 2 lbs. the tent itself is pretty nice just all the weight is in the crappy poles and stakes. but also its my first tent so i rather learn the dos and donts with this one rather than buying an expensive one. 

but ya im making the gf carry some weight too. so dont you worry ill be good on that. haha

about the stove. i have canister gas and an esbit stove for backup. if the esbit works well i just might make that my official stove...maybe. 

12:33 p.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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Hiken-Jim did a review of different kinds of fuel and the weight to btu of most of the "hiking" fuels.   It turns out the Esbit fuel is the most effective fuel for camping.  Based on heat vs. weight. 

Not that cooking on esbit is very fun.  Very few hikers actually us it as their primary fuel source, although it's a great backup / emergency fuel.   I think you will like the canisters a lot better to heat water and cook on, a decent wind shield is also important to effective heating, for both the gas and the esbit tablets.

I also think the tent is fine, your not really set up for ultra-light, so a few extra pounds in the tent are not a huge deal. 

The Steripen with pre-filter should be fine for this trip, just take extra batteries and make sure it's packed carefully.  A back up of chlorine (bleach) is a good idea, just in case.  From what I have read the water is generally very clear so the Steripen should work fine. 

Wolfman

3:08 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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I hiked the JMT in 2009. Let's see...

Take gloves for the cable up Half Dome. Sometimes there is a pile at the base but I would NOT want to do the climb without them.

The lighter you carry, the happier you will be on the various uppers.

I like the Miox over the SteriPen but it's a matter of preference. Do take some sort of backup.

20 degree bag sounds about right.

Wear a broad brimmed hat for the sun.

You mentioned a good map set. I would also absolutely get "John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America's Most Gamous Trail" by Elizabeth Wenk. The book isn't that heavy but I bought two and tore one up to just take the pages and sections I wanted to carry. It was invaluable in finding and planning campsites.

You will be glad if you mail a food drop to Tuolumne.

I like to clean up too. Just remember, if you take unscented wipes, it's FACE FIRST, then on to pits, nether regions, or feet depending on which you want to smell like what... :-)

Oh, be sure to take blister stuff. And absolutely be sure to deal with any hot-spot as soon as you feel it. Some have no trouble but I have also seen some extraordinarily messed up feet on the trail.

And yes, don't rush. It's an incredible hike. I highly recommend the whole thing. Took me about two and a half weeks with a zero day at Vermillion Valley.

Have fun...

3:09 p.m. on April 25, 2012 (EDT)
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You can send a food drop to a Post Office as General Delivery with the date of expected pick up - add a note to the Postmaster when to discard.  Just plan to be there during operating hours.  You can also hand deliver it to them for the same price.  Make sure all food drops are varmint proof.  The POs  (and especially commercial drops) at times are infested with very fat mice.

You can expect 20F temperatures above 10,000' during any month of summer.

In late July, most of your thunderstorms will be in the afternoon and should be relatively short. and few between  Plan to be off exposed higher altitude places during the times they can be expected.  You can hike in a rain if you are pushed for mileage.   I wear a Marmot Precip and shorts with short gaiters to keep the debris and mud out of tops of boots. I keep a heavy duty trash bag in bottom of bag for bad bad weather.  It lines the inside of pack or my outside if emergency. Expect snow covering trail above 11,000 at the passes or a few traverses.

For mosquitoes in camp I have a hooded top, long pants and thicker socks...and of course DEET used sparingly and more often.  Two drops covers a LOT of skin and clothing. It is not applied like UV protection.

Gas (e.g., propane/butane) is fine.  It is easier to pack and use.  Small(ish) pot is about all else you need that will fit without balance problems on top. With wife, I use a Pocket Rocket and single 1.2L pot - luxuriously a separate covered pot for water (tea, etc).  Plastic 1.5 cup cups (with 1 cup water measure scratched in) and Lexon spoon (plus spare in bottom of pack). Without plates, the clean up is easier.  Most of kit (including spare BIC lighters) fit in pot. Repackage bulky food items (discard packaging) in zip lock bags.  Use straw in almost closed end to suck air out before closing. Save what is in there and cooking instructions.  Take perishable items for first day meals.

200 Polartek (equivalent) fleece jacket is the warm layer.  Those come out at every rest stop especially near passes. The Precip goes on top if warmth or wind break needed.  I have always packed a down vest (stuffed in fist size bag) in bottom of pack.  It has been loaned out MUCH more often than used by us. You don't need a lot of spare clothes if you don't mind spending a few minutes washing every once in awhile.

10 miles a day (a Pentel 9mm - orange -pencil laid along a Tom Harrison (dot.com) map trail) is a good day if you start early. You can probably average around 1.5mi per hour.  This gives you more than half the day's progress before lunch and some time to take some side jaunts after you make camp.  The biggest waste of a day is fiddling around getting a late start.  With some effort, team work (one does bags and tent other does meal preparation) and determination you can be out of tent and on the trail in less than 45mins.  But that is just us - your experiences may differ.  You should also practice how to get that tent up as fast as you can.  When you need to get it up quickly, you usually NEED TO GET IT UP QUICKLY!  Team work is essential on the tent.   My bag is a single large pit, the contents of which get dumped on the ground at night and jammed in in the morning.  Stuff needed during day (fleece, etc) go on top.

If you have a lot of stuff that doesn't fit into your personal critter canisters you will have to insure you have some space in a public bear box when you call it quits for the day. I invested in a Bearikade Expedition years ago and haven't regretted it.  The company also rents them.  If you would like to borrow mine - contact me.

http://climber.org/data/BearBoxes.html

There is a chance the boxes will be very full so claim your space early. Use a wildly colored stuff sack - make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.  You want to be able to find it in the dark in with all of the others that will be there. Also another reason headlamps were invented. Better than flashlights in any game.  Put your name/address and the date of the hike on the bag so that if you don't claim your bag for one reason or another,  the rangers will have a toe tag.  There are trail bums who spend an entire summer on the trails of the National Parks and 'borrow' a little bit here and there from other's food sacks.  On the other hand, you may NOT leave extra food in the public bear boxes.  You don't want a testy ranger who has to carry the extra out any where near you.  If you over estimated, suck it up.  Don't let somebody else cover your tracks. Always good to take one extra meal, however even if you aren't paranoid.

Walk slowly, drink water more often than you need (if you are thirsty you are already dehydrating) and ingest LOTs of that hi calorie Goo stuff.  A single Snickers has about 2 hours of go power in it.  Don't worry about the diet so long as you are planning on replacing 400-600 calories an hour while hiking.  Doubtful you will get scurvy on the short hikes.

I like Benedryl as a sleep aid when in a small tent with a partner so long as it doesn't affect you the next day.  I also need Diamox (can get a few day's supply as an Rx) for Cheyne/Stokes sleep/breathing problems (10k'+) until I get better acclimated.

For hot spot control I use duct tape for them and leave it on until after the hike is done.  And large Compose BandAids. Moleskin just doesn't do the job.  If boots are well fitted you shouldn't get blisters.

Portable battery chargers seem like a good idea, but it takes way to long to recharge what you have (you don't always have your back to the sun and you will be in trees a lot of the time if below 11,000') and that extra weight is more than fresh spare batteries.  Best if you have a long term base camp and can afford the BIG ones.  The lithium battery in my Canon allows a bazillion pictures and with a 2oz spare I get two bazillion.  Epoxy a camera mounting screw into the top of a trek pole for a mono pod.

A good book to browse through is: The Mountaineering Handbook (Craig Connally).  Even though it covers the rough stuff, it is a good guide for the kinds of things you will be into (equipment, food, conditioning, etc).  It is a good companion to Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills and for the Sierra, Winnett's trail guides are timeless.

You are going to love the Sierra's no matter where you spend a week or more.

11:10 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow, that was an excellent post by speacock. Go back and read it again if you are seeking good advice. I can only think of a few minor things to elaborate on:

1. Clothes washing - carry a small (~3'x3) sheet of polyethylene. Make a ring of rocks , lay the sheet within, fill with water for a wash bowl. Use two and you have one soapy and one clean rinse. Please do this away from streams and lakes and PLEASE do not wash your clothes (or anything) directly in the streams or lakes.

2. In the event that you do have a food drop that won't all fit into your personal bear-box (Bearikade), here is my strategy: If I can't find a public NPS bear box, I leave out the hermetically sealed dehydrated food pouches first. I put ANY potentially smelly stuff in the Bearicade even if I think it's a lower priority. I then "counter balance" hang the extra (not smelly) stuff away from camp.

3. Altitude issues: It's a good idea to read up on Diamox before you use it. Some people swear by it and it can really help. As I recall, you need to commit to it BEFORE you get to altitude for it to be effective. It can have a diuretic effect. If you go that way I suggest you try it at home before you get into the wilderness. Either way, I agree that hydration is extremely important. It merits repeating: "DRINK MORE WATER THAN YOU NEED."

4. Blisters: I do occasionally use moleskin but I cut it into a doughnut and put it AROUND the hotspot and UNDER the tape to relieve pressure. If a blister is bad, I like this weird gooey material called Second Skin. I cut a small piece and place it on the blister/hot-spot and under the tape. I've been surprised by how well it seems to work.

5. Good point about the spare batteries instead of a charger. You can buy lithium batteries in AA and AAA. They are expensive but MUCH lighter and last longer. I'm kind of a weight nut though.

Only one thing to add: Please carry your toilet paper out. Just use an extra zip-lock - it's really not so bad. People that bury don't realize that animals ALWAYS dig it up and spread it around the wilderness.

Oh, and speacock is absolutely wrong about getting a bazillion shots from a Canon battery. I only get about a half a bazillion...

***

12:06 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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thanks guys for all the time in responding to my questions and comments!!! i love this site and tell all my friends about it that have questions. 

i feel much more prepared going into this now. thanks again!!

one more question i plan on carrying a 3L hydration bladder plus a nalgene...is that enough?

8:02 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Only place where there is no water within an hour is Half Dome.   I keep a liter bottle topped up when I come across water.

Generally in the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, there is water within a hikers long reach over much of the trail.  The major exception is higher altitudes and generally up high passes.  Not a lot of water coursing down the rock above 12,000' usually.  Check the map and ask locals or those coming toward you how the water is

A light weight collapsible 1 gal container is handy to lug water back from where ever it is to where ever you are spending time.  You can use it as is (if not too silty) for cooking and hot drinks, and more comfy to filter (if that is your want) in camp.  Fewer mosquitoes for one thing.

Wife and I were on the last night of a 11 day trip trans and bi-sectional Sierra. That night when people found out where we had come from they were asking the same kinds of questions that would have been asked several hundred years ago.  What are the conditions of the trail, is it easy to follow, how are the temperatures and availability of water, and what kinds of wild animal problems.   The only question left out was if there were any night time attacks of indigenous tribes other than mosquitoes.

We find a small digital recorder invaluable for keeping track of what we ate and did/didn't like, what we saw, interview of rangers or others of interest on the trail, what the day was like, what we should/shouldn't have brought with us, sounds of weather (hail is really really loud) and of how quiet it is just being there, general comments AND what the pictures were.  Every morning we take a picture of how many fingers represent which day we are on.  The film then is in order.  Not such a big deal now with digital, but still is a habit we have.  Get a good one. You will generally get what you paid for. A good one is closer to $100 than a bad one.

If you get cold at night in that new sleep bag (make sure you have a sleep pad), put on a hat, hiking socks and eat a bunch of calories...sugar works.

Going up hill needs a rhythm. I take an inhale on my right foot (or left) placement and exhale on the next foot placement.  I try to go at a pace that is a bit uncomfortable but which will allow me to progress for more than 30mins before a  break.  If I need more air, I take shorter steps but keep same cadence.  You are shooting for a constant heart rate. Fewer stops means more ground covered...unless you just want to absorb more of that scenery (or pics) and like to have the respiration rate get lower than your heart rate. Oh yeah.  Point your toes forward - you pick up a fraction of an inch with every step. LOTS of steps.

If taking trek poles be sure to take two, and learn what that bit of a strap is there for (to put the weight directly on the skeleton through the wrist bone). If you properly  take off as much as 20 pounds for each trek plant you will transfer around 40,000 pounds per mile from your legs/feet -- assuming your stride is 5 and 1/4 feet or so.  Be prepared (at the gym) for an upper body workout.  The hand and fingers are only used to flick the pole forward to plant it. Petes Poles on the net is a good source of info. I've found Komperdells (sierratradingpost.com) at around $50 the pair to be fine for most on trail use.

Make sure your belt has a few spare holes just in case you don't eat enough.

And yes, thanks Walden.  If taking sulfa type drugs (Diamox) you should try it out at home to see if any reactions.  I take the dose in the evening...and yes you trade off sleep for calls of nature as well. The pharmacist should tell you the bad things (e.g., beer doesn't taste right). If you don't really need it, don't take it along.  So if this is first time at some altitude, see what happens with only Ibuprofin (Bring along twice the daily recommendation times 1/2 the number of days on the trip.  If you get an injury that swells - and hurts, it helps you make it go away - even if you have to walk back from the half way point). 

I use my Berikade for a seat, foot stool, head rest, bathing tub, wash tub...

You should get the 'manly' batteries - or take quicker pictures  :)

October 31, 2014
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