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Hiking the JMT section 2

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  • barbara preston
    Wondering if someone could advise me on backpacking the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadows (or the other way around). How it compares to backpacking
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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      Wondering if someone could advise me on backpacking the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadows (or the other way around). How it compares to backpacking in Baxter State Park, Maine on the "moderate trails". My friend and I are 55 years old and just really getting back into backpacking. For me it's been 30 years. Last year we spent 5 days backpacking in Baxter State Park, Maine, and loved it. We found it challenging however with all the rocks, boulders, stream crossings, roots, etc. When I read the rating on this trail (JMT) I read strenuous or difficult. Is that for "avid" backpackers or for average people? I assume (and would prefer) to go shorter distances between camps and maybe stay in a camp for two nights. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, some people say starting at Red Meadows or near there and hiking to Yosemite is better. Which is better? Do the permits go fast? Should I apply ASAP?

      I actually did hike in this area a long time ago too. Like 30 years ago. I do not remember it being too difficult, but I'm not sure our brains can be trusted from 23 years old to 55 years old on difficulty comparisons. When I backpacked last summer in Baxter (I had done this 30 years ago too and did not remember it being challenging)?  I did not climb Katahdin. I have no cartilage in my knees. People told us that hiking in New England with all the rocks, roots, and boulders and no switch backs is harder than most trails in the west ???
    • Kim Fishburn
      The hardest thing about hiking between Tuolumne and Reds Meadow is the elevation. If you re in no hurry, and don t want to do a lot of miles every day, I
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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        The hardest thing about hiking between Tuolumne and Reds Meadow is the elevation. If you're in no hurry, and don't want to do a lot of miles every day,  I don't think you'll have a problem. 8 Miles a day should only take about 4 hours. You could do half in the morning, and the rest in the afternoon.
        The trails are well engineered and you won't find any steep sections, and no difficult creek crossings.


        On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 3:02 PM, barbara preston <bjpreston59@...> wrote:
         



        Wondering if someone could advise me on backpacking the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadows (or the other way around). How it compares to backpacking in Baxter State Park, Maine on the "moderate trails". My friend and I are 55 years old and just really getting back into backpacking. For me it's been 30 years. Last year we spent 5 days backpacking in Baxter State Park, Maine, and loved it. We found it challenging however with all the rocks, boulders, stream crossings, roots, etc. When I read the rating on this trail (JMT) I read strenuous or difficult. Is that for "avid" backpackers or for average people? I assume (and would prefer) to go shorter distances between camps and maybe stay in a camp for two nights. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, some people say starting at Red Meadows or near there and hiking to Yosemite is better. Which is better? Do the permits go fast? Should I apply ASAP?

        I actually did hike in this area a long time ago too. Like 30 years ago. I do not remember it being too difficult, but I'm not sure our brains can be trusted from 23 years old to 55 years old on difficulty comparisons. When I backpacked last summer in Baxter (I had done this 30 years ago too and did not remember it being challenging)?  I did not climb Katahdin. I have no cartilage in my knees. People told us that hiking in New England with all the rocks, roots, and boulders and no switch backs is harder than most trails in the west ???


      • Marion Davison
        ... My husband (age 76) and I (age 57) did this route in 2012 and 2013 (we have been doing hikes all over this area since 1996). I need a knee replacement so I
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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          barbara preston wrote:
          >
          >
          > Wondering if someone could advise me on backpacking the section from
          > Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadows (or the other way around). How it
          > compares to backpacking in Baxter State Park, Maine on the "moderate
          > trails".

          My husband (age 76) and I (age 57) did this route in 2012 and 2013 (we
          have been doing hikes all over this area since 1996).
          I need a knee replacement so I wear a knee brace. We both hike in New
          Balance trail runners and we both use two trekking poles all the time.
          They help us get up the hills, move faster on flat ground and safer on
          downhills, and make stream crossing much safer. There are a lot of
          small water crossings on this route, but nothing deep. Many crossings
          have a single log bridge or rocks to hop.
          If you go southbound, the hike up Lyell is moderate for the first half
          and more of a staircase for the second half. It is very well built, the
          rockwork is amazing. Plan to stay at Island Pass, one of the most
          beautiful places on earth. Make sure you bring bear cannisters.
          If you start getting fatigued or you have leg problems, you can bail out
          to the River Trail at Thousand Island Lake. This trail is mostly dirt
          and predominantly downhill all the way to Red's Meadow. It is also
          close to water, walking in a forest, the whole time. I have used this
          route twice when I started having knee problems. In 2013 we did 23
          miles in two days by using the River Trail. The PCT high trail is very
          scenic and stays high on the valley's steep side for a long way. The
          JMT does a roller coaster route down to lakes, over little passes, and
          it is the rockiest of the three routes. But it is spectacularly scenic.
          If you can take your time any of the routes are doable. Remember, these
          trails are "graded for horses" so they are not as steep as the AT.
          We usually do these hikes in mid-July to late August. July has more
          wildflowers and more mosquitoes. August has fewer flowers and usually
          very few mosquitoes. If you go earlier than mid-July, expect snow on
          Donohue Pass.
          If you choose to go northbound, you must commit to one of the three
          trails early on (a few miles north of Red's) so you don't have an easy
          option to fall back on.
        • bjpreston1959
          Wow Marion. That is a wonderful response! Really appreciate the input. I think planning is half the fun. I didn t know the grading system is for horses? How
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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            Wow Marion. That is a wonderful response! Really appreciate the input. I think planning is half the fun. I didn't know the grading system is for horses? How long did it take you to do this section? How much weight do you carry?
          • Marion Davison
            ... It is just 36 miles from Tuolumne to Red s, but there are so many wonderful places to camp along the way. I typically do this segment as part of a larger
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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              bjpreston59@... wrote:
              > Wow Marion. That is a wonderful response! Really appreciate the input. I
              > think planning is half the fun. I didn't know the grading system is for
              > horses? How long did it take you to do this section? How much weight do
              > you carry?
              >

              It is just 36 miles from Tuolumne to Red's, but there are so many
              wonderful places to camp along the way. I typically do this segment as
              part of a larger loop, so I typically spend about 5 days on this part.
              We are llama packers, so we have light packs. We had two llamas and
              three weeks worth of supplies this year, so I had about 25 pounds on my
              back.
              If you want to make a leisurely trip, plan for a week and have a layover
              day somewhere.
              "Graded for horses" means that the trail is not supposed to exceed a 15%
              grade. It's much less steep than that most of the time.
            • poppyboy434
              Hi Barbara, I hiked in Baxter S.P. and done Katadyn a few times. Hiked the JMT in 2012. It s really apples and oranges. Baxter State park is more rugged but
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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                Hi Barbara,

                  I hiked in Baxter S.P. and done Katadyn a few times. Hiked the JMT in 2012.

                   It's really apples and oranges. Baxter State park is more rugged but you'll have to deal with elevation and your pack weight on that trip from Tuolumne to Red's on a well graded trail. 

                  If you've backpacked overnight in Maine recently  and your knees can take it and you take you time, you should be ok. The scenery in that section( tuolumne to Reds) is wonderful, particularly just before and after Donahue pass and around Thousand Is. and Garnet lakes. 

                You will encounter more people as this area is more accessible to backpackers out for just a few days.

                Hope this helps.

                Mike Boisvert

              • Joe MacLeish
                Barbara: It s really an altitude thing. I just did 3800 ft up Mt Diablo in the SF Bay Area, 4-6 miles and it is easy compare to the hike from TM to Lyle Creek
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 6, 2014
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                  Barbara:

                  It's really an altitude thing.  I just did 3800 ft up Mt Diablo in the SF Bay Area, 4-6 miles and it is easy compare to the hike from TM to Lyle Creek Bridge.  The difference is the altitude.  If your Main trip is under 4000 ft you will really notice the climb to 9000+ ft to Lyle Creek.

                  Joe

                   

                  From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of poppyboy434
                  Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 4:03 PM
                  To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Hiking the JMT section 2

                   

                   

                  Hi Barbara,

                    I hiked in Baxter S.P. and done Katadyn a few times. Hiked the JMT in 2012.

                     It's really apples and oranges. Baxter State park is more rugged but you'll have to deal with elevation and your pack weight on that trip from Tuolumne to Red's on a well graded trail. 

                    If you've backpacked overnight in Maine recently  and your knees can take it and you take you time, you should be ok. The scenery in that section( tuolumne to Reds) is wonderful, particularly just before and after Donahue pass and around Thousand Is. and Garnet lakes. 

                  You will encounter more people as this area is more accessible to backpackers out for just a few days.

                  Hope this helps.

                  Mike Boisvert

                • bjpreston1959
                  That sounds good! Now to see if I can get a permit. I m starting to think that might be the most difficult part? Thank you very much for your encouraging
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 7, 2014
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                    That sounds good! Now to see if I can get a permit. I'm starting to think that might be the most difficult part? Thank you very much for your encouraging wisdom.

                    Barb
                  • cehauser1
                    Barb: Yes, permits might be tough to come by, since this is a populat area. There are other options, like getting onto the JMT from a bit outside of Red s
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 7, 2014
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                      Barb:


                      Yes, permits might be tough to come by, since this is a populat area.  There are other options, like getting onto the JMT from a bit outside of Red's Meadow (June Lake, Mammoth Pass, Duck Pass), or a bit outside of Tuolumne Meadows (Mono Pass or Rafferty Creek).


                      Marion gave you some great advice... basically there are lots of trail route options in the south part of your trip, so if you are southbound, when you get to Thousand Island Lake, you can take whatever trail your body or the weather suggests.


                      I've lived at sea level for about 7 years, so I'm definitely a "flat lander".  If you can spend a night or two at 7000 to 8000 feet before your trip, you'll probably do just fine... Donohue Pass is a relatively gentle pass, so it shouldn't kill you too bad.


                      Best of luck!


                      Chris.


                    • bjpreston1959
                      Thanks Chris. I will check out the Mono Lake, Rafferty Creek options. I watched a video of a group starting from Agnew Meadows. That s why I wondered if that
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 8, 2014
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                        Thanks Chris. I will check out the Mono Lake, Rafferty Creek options. I watched a video of a group starting from Agnew Meadows. That's why I wondered if that might be a good possibility. Would that be better than starting from Reds Meadow? I understand about the multiple trail options sobo, but just trying to consider ALL options.I live in Maryland at about 1000 ft. above sea level. So we definitely need to acclimatize. I'm thinking of flying into Mammoth Lakes and staying a couple of nights there before heading to Tuolonme or Reds, or Agnew to start the hike.
                        Barb


                      • cehauser1
                        Hi Barb: I don t know that area as well as many people on the list, but my understanding is that starting at Agnew Meadow is closer to Tuolumne Meadows, but
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 9, 2014
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                          Hi Barb:

                          I don't know that area as well as many people on the list, but my understanding is that starting at Agnew Meadow is closer to Tuolumne Meadows, but you wouldn't have as many trail options (JMT out of play from Agnew) compared to Red's Meadow, which would have all the trail options (JMT, PCT, and the river trail).


                          However, that climb out of Red's Meadow (on your first day) could be tough, as you are gaining quite a bit of altitude.  On my SoBo trip this summer, I remember running down that hill through the rain and hail, with a visions of cheeseburgers at the Red's Meadow cafe in my head, and I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn't going up.  Not too steep, just long, especially for the first day.


                          Personally, if I was worried about high altitude or difficult trail, I'd suggest hiking it south bound... partly because (I think) Tuolumne Meadows is higher elevation than Agnew or Red's, but mostly because you'd have all those trail options at the second half of the trip, and could modify your trip to suit your body's needs.  That was my contingency plan as I was passing through that area this summer.


                          BTW, one of the trailhead options in Yosemite is "Mono Pass" not "Mono Lake".  


                          Chris.


                        • Deborah Rhoton
                          Agnew Meadows is closer to TM than Red s going NOBO and is a short shuttle ride from Red s. The river trail is actually at Agnew Meadows as NOT Red s. I took
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 9, 2014
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                            Agnew Meadows is closer to TM than Red's going NOBO and is a short shuttle ride from Red's. The river trail is actually at Agnew Meadows as NOT Red's.  I took the river trail in 2012 when I had to bail my hike early. It is a very easy trail and mostly shaded. 

                            Sent from my iPhone

                            On Jan 9, 2014, at 2:09 AM, <cehauser1@...> wrote:

                             

                            Hi Barb:

                            I don't know that area as well as many people on the list, but my understanding is that starting at Agnew Meadow is closer to Tuolumne Meadows, but you wouldn't have as many trail options (JMT out of play from Agnew) compared to Red's Meadow, which would have all the trail options (JMT, PCT, and the river trail).


                            However, that climb out of Red's Meadow (on your first day) could be tough, as you are gaining quite a bit of altitude.  On my SoBo trip this summer, I remember running down that hill through the rain and hail, with a visions of cheeseburgers at the Red's Meadow cafe in my head, and I remember thinking that I was glad I wasn't going up.  Not too steep, just long, especially for the first day.


                            Personally, if I was worried about high altitude or difficult trail, I'd suggest hiking it south bound... partly because (I think) Tuolumne Meadows is higher elevation than Agnew or Red's, but mostly because you'd have all those trail options at the second half of the trip, and could modify your trip to suit your body's needs.  That was my contingency plan as I was passing through that area this summer.


                            BTW, one of the trailhead options in Yosemite is "Mono Pass" not "Mono Lake".  


                            Chris.


                          • bjpreston1959
                            Thank you. Seems like several people who have replied state that SOBO is the way to go. Barb
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 9, 2014
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                              Thank you. Seems like several people who have replied state that SOBO is the way to go. 

                              Barb
                            • bjpreston1959
                              Thanks to all who responded to my initial question. I have decided I will definitely do this section. I watched a video on motion of this hiked from Agnew
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jan 15, 2014
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                                Thanks to all who responded to my initial question. I have decided I will definitely do this section. I watched a video on "motion" of this hiked from Agnew Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows. From what I see this would be easier than NOBO from Reds. I will try to get a permit from TM, but I will also try NOBO. My new questions are these:

                                1. What camp areas do you all recommend? Are they obvious? How do I find them? If you were going to camp 2 nights someplace where would you choose? In the video I watched they camped at Clark Lakes the first night out of Agnew M.

                                2. If we fly into Mammoth Lakes, where do you suggest staying (I guess for 2 nights based on your advise to acclimatize before we hike)?

                                3. It looks to me like if I request a permit from Inyo NF I need only request on line? Availability is shown instantly?
                              • John Ladd
                                ... Yes - Just do it online at Recreation.gov. And you will know immediately. They will ask you to show each night s intended stop but they won t hold you to
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jan 15, 2014
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                                  On Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 7:11 AM, <bjpreston59@...> wrote:
                                  permit from Inyo NF I need only request on line? Availability is shown instantly?

                                  Yes - Just do it online at Recreation.gov. And you will know immediately. They will ask you to show each night's intended stop but they won't hold you to it

                                  Four Jeffrey is a high (8100 ft) campsite accessible by car and pleasant. You'd need a rental car to get to it. Down near Bishop. But Reds Meadow is just a bit lower (7500) and easier to get to if you don't have a car.


                                  John Curran Ladd
                                  1616 Castro Street
                                  San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                                  415-648-9279
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