October 7, 2013 / Comments (1)

John Muir Trail Planning: Starting Somewhere

The idea of hiking a long distance trail was always in the back of my mind. On hikes in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I’d often fall into a familiar conversation with other hikers. “What are you going to do after you finish the list?” I’d always be asked. After completing all the 4000-foot peaks in New Hampshire, I had moved on to all the 4000-footers in New England. Next weekend I will be summiting Mt. Abraham in Vermont for my 67th hike. There’s always more to do here: the NH 4000-footers in winter, 52 with a view list, all season 48, and the lists keep going.

I’m often asked if I’d ever hike the Appalachian Trail. Having hiked the tallest peaks in the most difficult states along the Appalachian Trail, I don’t think I could justify taking off six months of work to hike it. I’m not sure if I’d like to section hike it either. Only time will tell.

I would absolutely love to complete a long distance hike over a two to three week period, though. I learned about the John Muir Trail and after seeing so many beautiful photographs, I finally stumbled upon the documentary, Mile…Mile and a Half on Kickstater. After watching the film, I knew I had to go to California and hike this trail.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would hike the John Muir Trail, in its entirety, summer 2014. Here is what I have discovered/planned thus far:

I will be hiking the 223 miles (distance from Happy Isles to Mt. Whitney Portal. I am thinking about hiking mid to late July. In early July, you risk having to deal with all the bugs and snow being an issue. Near the end of July we may still encounter snow on the passes and frost overnight, but it won’t be as much, depending on how this winter is. As snow is already being reported over there, late July may be the better choice.

I also decided that I would hike Southbound, starting at Happy Isles in Yosemite and hike south until I reach Mount Whitney.

I’ll need permits in order to do the hike and we’ll need to get them this winter. Many people hike Mount Whitney and it may be difficult to get a permit for Whitney Port. Going southbound, it will be easier to get a permit for Happy Isles and being a thru hiker, we wouldn’t have to worry about the Mt. Whitney permit.

The other reason I wanted to hike southbound is to save Mt. Whitney for last. At 14,505 feet it’s the tallest peak on the trail and a climb we can more gradually work up to and become more acclimated to the altitude.

                                                              The Muir Project

What’s next:

Plans for my itinerary and a gear list!

Last modified: November 28, 2014

One Response to :
John Muir Trail Planning: Starting Somewhere

  1. Alison,
    I would love to contact you about a book review idea for your blog.

    My name is Kristen Lodge and I have recently published a collection of creative nonfiction stories about living in mountain towns across the west including Steamboat Springs and in the east, Killington, Vermont and Bethel, Maine. The book is called Continental Quotient, Stories From Both Sides of the Divide.
    I found your blog on the Outdoor Blogger Network and I also blog at kristenlodge.blogspot.com
    My hope when people read my book is that they will remember their outdoor adventures: road trips with friends, moving to a new place where you know no one, and love of place, friends, and family.
    I would love to send you the pdf Galley of my book with the hope that you would review it on your outdoor blog.

    Thank you,

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