John Muir Trail Trip Report

Final Thoughts

It took a while to get my journals edited and uploaded, but I committed to getting this done. I learned so much from others who took the time to complete their journals, I wanted to do the same so hopefully a future JMT hiker finds something interesting or useful from my journal.

Immediately following my trip, I decided that next year I am going to Cozumel and go scuba diving instead of hiking!!
210 is enough trail miles for at least a couple of years, right?
Funny how the trail calls to your soul and works it's way into your thoughts. The pull of the trail is being felt once again. Maybe just a short 10 day trip?

I don't have any deep philosophic or spiritual thoughts to share from the trip. For me it wasn't about 'finding myself' or searching for something deep. It was about completing a life goal and challenging myself. It was about experiencing the majesty and granduer of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically. My training was appropriate and prepared me for doing 10+ miles a day, but it was still a challenge. I only had a couple of days where I hit a 'wall' and had to hike past the point where it was no longer fun. I found that there were many days and many places where I wished I could just stop and enjoy the view, or explore side trails, or just relax in the beauty of the location or the moment, and just could not afford to take the time. I suppose the positive thing is now I have lots of places that I want to revisit and take more time exploring in future hiking trips. The one area I would work harder on is losing more weight from ME. I did drop 20 lbs during the months leading up to the trip, but it should have been more. My foot was somewhat numb for a month but is now back to normal. I have no idea what that was all about.

There was less solitude than I was expecting. Enough to be satisfying, but enough interaction with fellow JMT hikers each day to build some fun trail relationships and have company. This isn't the trail for you if you want to be alone for days on end.

All of my resupply choices went without a hitch. The resupply at Charlotte Lake was the one I worried about the most, but Sequoia Kings Pack Train was reliable and I would use them again. I did take advantage of a winter special rate, and shared the cost, so it was cost effective. If I had to pay full price though, and had an extra day I could spare, I would hike out across Kearsarge and do a resupply at Onion Valley.

I was blessed with spectacular weather. The day after I got to Lone Pine, a rainy system moved in and the Sierra got lots of rain!

What worked:

What didn't work:

SPOT - my fault since I abused it before the trip, but relying on technology that failed caused more stress than any other thing on this trip, and caused me to hike 15 mile days to end my trip a day early. Lesson learned; I will still use SPOT in the future as an emergency device, but only as a nice-to-have for messaging my wife. If she stops getting the OK messages, no worrying until I am past due for exiting the trail.

Tent cabin at MTR. I enjoyed my stay there, everything except the tent cabin. It was an insect magnet with no way to keep the bugs out.

Showers at Reds Campground - dang it, I donated $5 last year and this year it was closed for maintenance ALL SEASON. I should have kept my cash last year and maybe it would have stayed open. Here is the part that makes no sense. I was there at the very end of the season and checked out the showers. There was absolutely NO maintenance work even started yet. Doors were locked, except for the first stall where someone had forcibly broken the lock and opened the door. Closed all season and work not even started in late August??? Sounds fishy. I want my $5 back.

Food. I STILL had trouble with my appetite. I lost 20 lbs in 19 days. I think I am going to worry less about this in the future. I only had 1 or 2 days where I felt a significant energy drain from lack of eating. My body had the 20 extra pounds to spare so it did a good job supplying me with energy from fat. I was worried that I would be dragging all day if my caloric intake was much lower than my expenditure, but that didn't seem to be the case. I am guessing that I ate 2000-2500 calories a day on average, and 4-5k calories on resupply and zero days. Also, I will opt for bringing some heavier meals to supplement the dehydrated meals on longer trips.


Tarptent Moment - loved the easy setup and light weight. Didn't like the condenstation or it dripping on me when I tried to wipe the walls. I don't know if a double wall tent would have handled the condensation better. I sold the Moment and picked up the Tarptent Notch. I had the chance to use it on the Colorado Trail during severe weather and so far so good.

If you are planning your own JMT adventure, good luck! It is SO worth the investment in time and energy and cost to see and experience this trail.