Summits: 1340

2014: Sep 23-Oct 10 » The John Muir Trail

I’d seen the John Muir Trail named as one of the world’s best hikes more than once, and really didn’t believe it. I was way wrong. Jagged peaks, lush forest, crystal clear streams,  high passes, and turquoise lakes throughout,  I am a believer.  Heading out late season, I had a few snow days and plenty of cold nights, but I had the campsite of my choosing every night, and many days where I saw just one other hiker.

I hiked north from Horseshoe Meadows to Tuolomne Meadows, covering about 200 miles (I’d miss the last 20+ miles due to a fire closure). I started with 3.5 days worth of food, getting my first resupply from friends Tom and Jimmy Waggoner at Kearsarge Pass, and my second at Vermillion Valley Resort. Snow thwarted my plans of climbing Arrow Peak and Charybdis, but  I tagged  a few easier mountains along the way – Black Giant and Mt. Warlow from Muir Pass, and Donohue Mountain from Donohue Pass. An amazing trip through the Range of Light…


Sep 23 – 8pm start from Horseshoes Meadows with Phil Stinis, hiked ‘til 10pm, camped at Chicken Spring Lake


Sep 24 – Camped at Crabtree Meadow


Sep 25 – Camped just below the south side of Forester Pass


Sep 26 – Camped at the Bullfrog Lake trail junction. Snow started (continued on/off for 2.5 days)


Sep 27 – Met Tom Waggoner, Jimmy Waggoner, Phil Wegge, and Matt Meyer at Kearsarge Pass @8:30am. Tom and Jimmy resupplied me with 8 days worth of food and fuel.  Phil Stinis left the JMT, while Phil Wegge and Matt joined. Hiked over Glen Pass to camp near the Woods Creek suspension bridge.


Sep 28 – Hiked over Pinchot pass, camped near the Bench Lake trail junction. Coldest night of the trip – wet gloves and water bottles froze.


Sep 29 – Snow stopped early AM.  Matt and Philip left the JMT via the Taboose Pass Trail, I continued over Mather pass, camped at Palisade Lakes.


Sep 30 – Camped at Big Pete Meadow


Oct 1 – Hiked to near Muir Pass, dropped overnight gear, climbed Black Giant, retrieved overnight gear, continued up to Muir Pass. Slept in the hut.


Oct 2 – Climbed Mt. Warlow, retrieved overnight gear from Muir Hut, hiked down Muir Pass, camped @ Evolution Lake (a favorite camp spot of the trip)


Oct 3 – Camped near the Piute Pass trail junction


Oct 4 – Camped 3 miles south of the Bear Ridge trail junction


Oct 5 – Hiked to Vermillion Valley Resort via Bear Ridge, retrieved 4-day resupply, had a few beers and frozen burritos, camped


Oct 6 – Hiked over Silver Pass, camped 1000 feet below the north side


Oct 7 – Camped near Deer Creek


Oct 8 –  Visited Devil’s Postpile, camped at Rosalie Lake (a favorite camp spot of the trip)


Oct 9 – Camped at the Marie Lake trail junction


Oct 10 – Hiked up Donohue Pass, dropped overnight gear, climbed Donohue Mountain, hiked out to car at Tuolomne Meadows, drove to Orange County