John Muir Trail Trip Report

10 Days

September 7-16, 2010

93.9 Miles

Links to my documents and other helpful links Profile of the 10 day trip

Complete gear list with weights: HTML, Excel

Original Itinerary

Garmin route data - .gdb, Excel, HTML, .gpx

Yosemite Web Site (

JMT Wilderness Permit

Packing a bear canister

Backpacking checklist

10 Day Trip Profile - JMT
All of the mileage reflected for this trip is from my Garmin 60csx, and reflects every time my pack moved, not just straight trail miles. For example, we may have scouted an area before selecting our campsite, or walked to a lake or stream for water. The total winds up being slightly more than straight trail miles, but reflects a true picture of actual miles hiked.

Getting There: Planes, Trains and Buses

Thanks to the JMT Yahoo Group, I had lots of good info on getting to Yosemite. I flew into Fresno Sun Sept 5. Spent the night at the LaQuinta 2 blocks from the Amtrak Station. Hotel was a bit of a dive, but I was able to walk to the train station very early Mon morning. I took the 6:50 am train to Merced, and caught the 7:48 bus to Yosemite Village. I can't remember the last time I rode a train, so this was a fun way to get to Merced. I could have taken a bus, but thought taking the Amtrak would be more interesting. I met a lady named Elle at the train station, she is from Scotland and is meeting someome at Yosemite for a week of backpacking. Since the YARTS bus pickup is at the Amtrak station, it was an easy transition. Both the train and bus were clean and comfortable. I arrived at Yosemite Village at 11:40 AM.

Getting to Yosemite
Amtrak to Merced
  YARTS to Yosemite
My first glimpse of Yosemite from the bus!

Yosemite has a fantastic free shuttle system that takes you anywhere you want to go in the Yosemite Village area. I checked into my tent cabin at Curry Village, and then took the Yosemite shuttle around the Park and explored the area. My intent was to drop off my extra things at the Post Office and mail them to VVR. Oops. I didn't put two and two together. Monday Sept 6 is Labor Day, so the PO was closed! Ok, no problem, I would be at the PO when they opened on Tues and just get a late start. Since I had a short day planned for Tues anyway, this was OK.

Yosemite Shuttle
  Yosemite Shuttle
Yosemite bus routes and stops
  Yosemite Valley bus stops and routes (click for full size)

The tent cabins at Curry Village are interesting. There are hundreds of them all in rows. Economical, and I was VERY aware that this was my last night sleeping on a comfy bed for many days. There are also showers available at Curry Village.

I stopped at the Wilderness Center to pick up my permit and talk to the Rangers. They asked about my bear can and length of stay to make sure I knew that all my food and 'smellables' had to fit in the can. It was fun listening to the folks and the ranger interact. The rangers showed great patience and answered the same questions repeatedly. They have a scale outside the Wilderness Center to weigh your pack. I may stop back here tomorrow to get a final weigh in.

I decided to call my wife before packing up my cell phone, and it had gone awol. As I thought about it, I remembered that I had left it charging on the bench at the Amtrak station. I went back to the Ranger station and got the phone number to the Amtrak station. They have a pay phone near the Wilderness Center, so I called Amtrak in Merced. Amazing, but the guy actually had my phone and charger! He was able to put it on the last YARTS bus up to Yosemite. After dinner, I went to the Yosemite Lodge to wait for the last bus to arrive. It was night by then, and it was fun to just relax and people watch while I waited. Eventually, the bus, and my cell phone arrived. I wound up bringing the phone hiking instead of mailing it to VVR, and actually got service at Reds and Tuolumne meadows. Nice to be able to call home a few times...

Curry Village cabins
Curry Village cabin
Curry Village cabins
  Rows of tent cabins
  Inside of the cabin

I ate at the Village Grill, and headed back to the cabin to do final packing and get the package ready to mail in the morning. Don't expect to sleep much at Curry Village. The place was noisy! I met the guy staying next to me, John, from Leeds. As we were talking, up walks Elle from the train station! John was the guy she was meeting up with. We had a nice chat about our upcoming backpacking plans. Tomorrow is the big day and the start of my hike!

Temps were 85 for a high today, no mosquitoes at Yosemite!

  Village Store
  View from Yosemite Valley
Half Dome in the distance

Yosemite Valley view
Half Dome view from Yosemite Valley

Day 1