Intro

I wrote my 2019 JMT JOURNAL in my normal style, starting with a daily recap of important numbers and places, critters and birds seen, and critter totals, followed by my thoughts on the day. Most days I was tired so, you’re really only getting a “recap” of the whole day, but hopefully it’s enough to make for an enjoyable read.

You can find my 2019 JMT Gear List here. Read about my gear, find out what I liked and didn’t, what worked and didn’t, and my thoughts on what I’d do differently.

DAY 1

Day 1 – 8/26/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Horse Shoe Meadow TH to Stealth Camp (13.4)

6.6 Miles, 6.6 Total Miles 

4:00 pm to 8:15 pm

Mostly Sunning 65-70

Pass(es)

  • Cottonwood

Critters

20 Humans

13 Chipmunks

1 Squirrel

Birds

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Just like our attempt in 2017, getting to the trailhead was an adventure in of itself. Due to the poorly timed buses, this time we parked my van near the ski resort in a Mammoth Lakes. At 6:3am we couldn’t get a Lyft or hitch fast enough to make the early bus to Lone Pine either. 

Once we realized we couldn’t make it we headed to Starbucks, then to the ranger station for our permit. After that we went to the Good Life Cafe, which Scott had been to 25 years ago when he first hiked the Sierra. 

While there we talked loudly about how we needed a ride and the guy next to us said he could get us to Bishop but in a bit. We got ice and did some last minute internet stuff then went to drop Ulysses off back up at the mountain. 

James, our ride, got us around 11:45 am and took us right to the bus stop in Bishop. It’s at a Vons grocery store, so I got lunch and one more dinner for tonight as we didn’t plan for this meal. 

The bus got us around 1:20 pm and we were in Lone Pine by 2:26 pm. On the bus ride we met three other JMT thru-hikers. We hung out in the McDonalds parking lot until Bob from Eastern Sierra Shuttle Company picked us up. He drove us to Horseshoe Meadow. 

We started just about 4 pm and took the shorter but steeper route this time. The climb to Cottonwood Pass wasn’t bad but I’m definitely not in the same shape as 2017. 

We were told there was a bear box at Chicken Spring Lake but we didn’t see one, so we moved on. A bit up the trail we stopped for dinner. I got all set up, water and food in the pot and I thought I had lost my fuel bottle. After a quick freak out I found it sitting right next to me. 

After dinner we continued on and got to watch a great sunset. We’re currently just off the trail among some rocks. During our first stop of the day I sat down one to see my twig and berries were hanging out. I had forgotten that the crotch of my shorts needed to be sewn. I had planned to sew them tonight but it was so late when we stopped I forgot.

DAY 2

Day 2  – 8/27/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Stealth Camp to Crabtree Meadows

14.0 Miles, 20.6 Total Miles 

7:12 am to 4:30 pm

Sunning 70-80

Pass(es)

  • Guyot

Critters

31 Humans

16 Chipmunks

2 Coyotes

1 deer

Total

31 Humans

29 Chipmunks 

2 Coyotes

1 Deer

1 Squirrel

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nutchhatch

I didn’t sleep great. A headache was practically to blame but I think mostly it was the air pad. I had trouble staying on it. We’ll see how tonight goes before passing my finally judgement on whether or not bringing an air mattress over my old Z Lite was the correct decision. 

Scott was talking in his sleep around 11 pm then got up to go the bathroom. When he returned he made so much noise. The talking has already woke me so I just waited until he stopped moving and making noise before I blurted out, “Are you done making noise!” Air mattresses are loud!

Turns out he was thinking he was making a ton of noise and couldn’t believe I was still asleep.  

Make breakfast shake wasn’t very good even though when I tried it at Scott’s house it wasn’t bad. I’ll try a little less water tomorrow. 

The hike started easy then we had to climb from Rock Creek up to Guyot Creek and finally over Guyot Pass. Of course we hit the pass at the heat of the day. My calves got some sun but that’s about it. 

We saw a lot of people. As we were taking it easy we leap frogged two ladies and two guys for most of the afternoon. We’re camped with one of the ladies now. The other three aren’t climbing Whitney. 

We saw a mule train at Guyot Creek. Two horses and four mules. Turns out they were guiding the next group hikers we saw. I talked to the girl driving the train and spoke to the animals. 

My shoulders were feeling it today and I probably should have drank more water. My headache started around lunch and is still there. I’m sure my lack of fitness is part of it. 

So last night it was misplacing my fuel, tonight it was my windscreen. First I had to light my stove three times before it stayed lit, then one of the spokes that hold the pot up fell out while cooking. This then caused the opposite side of the windscreen to buckle. All of this resulted in a lower temperature flame and ultimately my rice didn’t fully cook. 

Since we got to camp earlier than last night I took the time to sew the crotch in my shorts so I no longer had to worry about exposing myself whenever I sat down for a break.

Hopefully tomorrow night I can get my shit together and not have any problems cooking. 

DAY 3

Day 3  – 8/28/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Crabtree Meadows to Wallace Creek

19.4 Miles, 40.0 Total Miles 

5:25 am to 7 pm

Sunny a few clouds 65-75

Pass(es)

Critters

100+ Humans

26 Chipmunks

1 Marmot

Total

131+ Humans

55 Chipmunks 

2 Coyotes

1 Marmot

1 Deer

1 Squirrel

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Today was tough. I did not fly up Mt. Whitney like I did in 2017. I missed putting sunscreen on behind my right ear and I’m told it’s quite red. The sun really drained my energy.  We ended up hiking 15 of our 19 miles in direct sunlight at over 10,000′.

We got up at 5 am and were hiking by 5:25 am. We hiked in the dark for a while but once I had enough light to barely see I turned off my Petzl headlamp and enjoyed the growing morning light. You could see the crescent moon above the summit ridge to Whitney and this amazing purple glow from the sun coming up behind the ridge. It was breath taking. 

The climb dragged on due to my lack of fitness but the views partially made up for it. The weather was sunny and clear. Views in every direction. I summited at 10:09 am. That’s 4:44 compared to 3:21 in 2017 and I hiked 1.2 less miles this time. 

I was starving from about 9 am to 2 pm when we finally stopped on the descent for lunch. I pushed the group to find shade (Alex who we met yesterday summited with us). I needed a break from the intense sun. The lack of food didn’t help my mental toughness which was lacking. 

Once back to camp Scott and I took a 30 minute nap. Alex packed up and pushed on to Wallace Creek. We told her we’d catch up. We did but the short 4.4 miles was tough after going up Whitney. 

I saw my first Whistle Pig on the descent today. He was a fatty!

Hopefully the sun didn’t drain my energy too much and I have some tomorrow. 

DAY 4

Day 4  – 8/29/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Wallace Creek to Campsite Mile 29

17.3 Miles, 57.3 Total Miles 

6:50 am to 5:40 pm

Sunning 70’s

Pass(es)

  • Forester

Critters

103 Humans

14 Chipmunks

12 Marmot

Total

234+ Humans

69 Chipmunks 

13 Marmots

2 Coyotes

1 Deer

1 Squirrel

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Big news today, Scott rolled his ankle! It was probably in the first 2.5 miles. He has a history of doing it. The outside is quite swollen. We stopped early to give it a rest. Right now the million dollar question is wether or not he’ll be able to hike in the morning. 

I’ve spent most of the last few days hungry since I tried to minimize the amount of food that couldn’t fit in my Bear canister. If we slow down I’ll have to stretch my already slim food supply further.

Scott has some extra but if we have to add two more days of hiking to get to Muir Ranch it’s going to be tough. I also have to worry about how much fuel I have to cook with. 

We started with a climb right out of camp. I let Scott lead so to keep the pace easy to start. The overall distance to Big Horn Plateau had more climbing than I recalled. After that it was downhill (where Scott rolled his ankle) to Tyndall Creek. We snacked at the creek before the 5 mile climb up to Forest Pass. 

The climb dragged on for both Scott and I. Our pace is slower than last time. Scott is pretty chatting too and likes to talk to SOBO’s. 

We got to the top of the pass around 1 pm or so. On top we caught Alex and her crew. We hung out then descended as a group. They stopped around 3 pm because the two guys in their group aren’t that strong. Scott and I continued on to our current camp. 

Once again the sun was pretty intense and there was little shade to be found. I felt it’s affects along with too few calories. 

I guessed we’d see at least 50 people before we reached the pass and I was right. I’m blown away at the volume of people so far. 

I’m really hoping Scott’s ankle is good to go tomorrow. If not we have some big decisions to make. 

DAY 5

Day 5 – 8/30/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Campsite Mile 29 to Campsite Mile 44.9

15.9 Miles, 73.2 Total Miles 

7:10 am to 7 pm

Sunning 70’s

Pass(es)

  • Glenn

Critters

144 Humans

10 Chipmunks

4 Pikas

4 Deer

2 Marmot

1 Squirrel 

1 Lizard

Total

378+ Humans

79 Chipmunks 

15 Marmots

5 Deer

4 Pikas

2 Squirrel

2 Coyotes

1 Lizard

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

Scott’s ankle wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t good either. It hurt less than expected so that started the day on a good note. 

Due to taping and inspecting his ankle we got a late start. We climbed up to the junction of Bull Frog Lake, where I camped in 2007 during my PCT thru-hike. If we were going to bail out this was the spot to do it. Scott motored northbound. 

The climb up Glenn Pass wasn’t too bad but the elevation got me in the beginning of the climb. It got Scott too. By the top I had already counted 50+ people! But more importantly I saw the trip’s first Pikas! I got less than 3 feet from one! This is the closest I’ve gotten to one ever.

We descended to Rae Lakes to have lunch and have a proper break. Scott’s ankle is better on the ups than the downs. Unfortunately from Glenn Pass to Woods Creek was a 7 mile descent. 

It must have beat him up since we stopped for over 45 minutes at the bottom. He told me stopping was bad because his ankle got stiff. We watched people cross a suspension bridge over the creek. It was great entertainment watching them navigate the bridge.

I had to prod Scott to get moving. When we did get moving we meet a couple finishing their PCT thru-hike. They’re camped with us, along with I’m guessing another couple in a tent. We never saw them, as they were already in their tent when we got there.

The climb wasn’t too bad so far but tomorrow morning we have another 4.5 to Pinchot Pass at 12,107’. 

Today the sun was warm and so was the temp. Hopefully we get some cooler weather. 

DAY 6

Day 6 – 8/31/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Campsite Mile 44.9 to Paradise Lake Mile 63.2

18.2 Miles, 91.4 Total Miles 

6:34 am to 6 pm

Sunning 70’s

Pass(es)

  • Pinchot
  • Mather

Critters

106 Humans

11 Marmot

9 Chipmunks

4 Deer

1 Pika

Total

484+ Humans

88 Chipmunks 

26 Marmots

9 Deer

5 Pikas

2 Squirrel

2 Coyotes

1 Lizard

20? Trout

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

I slept pretty well last night. I got up at 4:10 am to pee and the people who were already in their tent when we arrived at camp, were packing up! I could see their red headlamp lights through their tent.

It didn’t take the mosquitoes long to find us in the am. Packing up included the mosquito shuffle. 

The approach up to Pinchot wasn’t too bad. We saw lots of Juncos and other small birds. The valley was very pretty and the temperature wasn’t that hot yet. The final push up the last switch backs wasn’t too bad either. 

The descent took us by Lake Marjorie before we dropped down to King’s River. From the river it was all up hill to Mathers Pass. We ate lunch before we started the climb. 

Like the approach up Pinchot the approach up to Mathers wasn’t that bad. The sun was the biggest issue. You could see the heat in the air. Luckily as we went up the little breeze we had grew stronger. 

I recalled the route to the pass pretty well from my 2007 PCT thru-hike. You ease your way up the valley and run into a dead end so it would appear. Then you just switch back up right to the pass. Some times you can’t even see the switch backs from right at the base. It blows your mind to think someone thought “Hey, let’s go over this one!”

We summited the pass at 3:30 pm and it would take us until 6 pm to go another 3.8 miles down hill to camp. The descents can be so rocky. It really beats up your feet. 

We ran into Chance and Sassy the two PCTers from last night, at Palisade Lake. They were drinking wine to celebrate Sassy’s birthday. 

The area we’re camped in is full of people. I was worried we only find shitty spots to set up but we found two great spots with a great view. I watched the Alpenglow fade as I wrote this. 

Today was a good day!

DAY 7

Day 7 – 9/1/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Paradise Lake Mile 63.2 to Wanda Lake Mile 83.2

20.2 Miles, 111.6 Total Miles 

6:50 am to 7 pm

Sunning 80’s

Pass(es)

  • Muir

Critters

127 Humans

10 Chipmunks

6 Marmot

5 Deer

3 Pika

1 Lizard

21 Ponies – 2 Mule Trains

Total

611+ Humans

98 Chipmunks 

32 Marmots

14 Deer

8 Pikas

2 Lizard

2 Squirrel

2 Coyotes

26? Trout

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

Common Raven

American Dipper

Stellar Jay

Rufous Hummingbird 

Sooty Grouse

Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

Rock Wren???

Last night was a good sleep. The day started with a long descent down the “Golden Staircase”.  It was too bad and we got into the trees for the most part before the sun got us too bad. The sun rises right over the climb hence the name. 

On the descent the creek running next to us was amazing. The water is so clear! I put my camera under the water and took pictures of the trout!

We were told the bugs would be bad in Le Conte Canyon but they weren’t. We made great time to the side trail to Bishop Pass where we had lunch. 

The sun and heat were the toughest part of the day. That was until we got higher up on Muir Pass. It’s probably the hardest pass but definitely the most beautiful. I remembered it well but still forgot stuff from 2007. 

We summited the pass at 6 pm as predicted. The descent off the pass wasn’t bad but it was rocky. Last time it was under snow so I never saw the ground. This made finding a camp spot hard. We asked some other campers if they saw any spots and the directed us in the right direction. 

We were told the knats were bad but again they weren’t. Today was our first 20 miler and we were treated to a great sunset. The sunset went on for so long.

Off to bed, my feet at sore and my back can’t stand me sitting up any more. 

DAY 8

Day 8 – 9/2/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Wanda Lake Mile 83.2 to Muir Ranch

19.6 Miles, 131.2 Total Miles 

7 am to 5:30 pm

Cloudy 70’s – Day 1 w/ Rain

Pass(es)

Critters

160 Humans

4 Chipmunks

1 Horse

1 Mull 

Total

771+ Humans

102 Chipmunks 

32 Marmots

14 Deer

8 Pikas

2 Lizard

2 Squirrel

2 Coyotes

26? Trout

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

Common Raven

American Dipper

Stellar Jay

Rufous Hummingbird 

Sooty Grouse

Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

Rock Wren???

Cedar Waxwing 

Slept good last night despite Scott being only a few feet away from me. 

Today was a slow day even though we covered almost 20 miles. It was mostly all downhill which put a lot of pressure on Scott’s ankle. It developed a new pain today which really slowed Scott down. 

We spent a lot of time at Evolution Creek. We both “bathed” and then the sun went behind the cold and we got cold. I was hungry and Scott’s ankle hurt so we had lunch there too. It was definitely one of our longer lunches of the trip so far.

From the creek crossing it was a steep descent to more flat. The views of the mountains and all the waterfalls were amazing, so they helped distract you from the task at hand. 

Nothing beat the view from the ranger station at Evolution Meadow. It was breath taking. Surprisingly it wasn’t too buggy. 

Late in the day I was talking to a PCTer and Gillian, a girl I follow on Instagram came riding up on her horse Dakota, with Karlee her new mule in tow. I knew she would be out here as we chatted briefly on Instagram, but wasn’t sure I’d see her. I recognized her, with her braided pig tails and tan buck hat right away.

I can’t really describe how excited I was to meet her. I only wish we had more time to talked. Her story is amazing and I would love to have been able to hear more about it first hand. I told her how the idea of thru-riding as she does seems so romantic, but I know how hard it must be to care for the animals each day. I have great respect for Gillian and what she does.

Scott and I leaped frogged two guys name Mike and Barred. Barred was super funny and we had a good time every time we passed them. 

We leaped frogged Martin, the Swiss hiker we met going up Muir and few times throughout the day. We didn’t see him again after Evolution Creek. 

Speaking of Evolution Creek, seeing it made me think about my up coming trip to Quebec to go Atlantic Salmon fishing but also that I wished I could fish it with my dad. 

When we got to Muir Trail Ranch to get out resupply we only had about 15 minutes to get our shit together. I bought a bandanna for the sun (which I never used for that purpose), fuel for my stove and was able to charge my Ravpower external battery some.

We’re camped just up the hill from the ranch. We met another NOBO named Triple Whammy, who’s hiking partner had just gotten airlifted out at Wanda Lakes! Triple Whammy was carrying on without him. To SOBO’s showed up later as well.

First the crotch of my shorts was torn open, now the seam up my ass ripped open. For the second time I was forced to get out my thread and needle and make repairs to the crotch of my shorts.

DAY 9

Day 9 – 9/3/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Muir Ranch M101.7 to Mono Creek M122.4

20.7 Miles, 151.9 Total Miles 

6:55 am to 6:45 pm

Most Cloudy 70’s – Day 2 w/ Rain

Pass(es)

  • Selden

Critters

70 Humans

9 Chipmunks

7 Ground Squirrel 

1 Deer

Total

841+ Humans

111 Chipmunks 

32 Marmots

15 Deer

8 Pikas

7 Ground Squirrel 

2 Lizard

2 Squirrel

2 Coyotes

30? Trout

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

Common Raven

American Dipper

Stellar Jay

Rufous Hummingbird 

Sooty Grouse

Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

Rock Wren???

Cedar Waxwing 

Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

I almost didn’t want to get to get up this morning. I was pretty snug when my alarm went off. It was a slow start and day but we still pumped out another 20+ miler!

We also got rained on today and this time it was for more than a few minutes like yesterday. Thunder threatened but nothing really came of it. The dark clouds did make for some great pictures. 

We started the day with a 3000+ foot climb up to Selden Pass at 10913’. On the way up we stopped at Sallie Keyes Lake for a snack. This is where in 2007 I left my fishing reel and had to run back a half mile to find it. 

The view at the top of the pass of Marie Lake was spectacular. It’s such a pretty view looking north. We hung out at the pass for a while so we pushed lunch off until 1:30ish. 

I was barely done eating when I saw the storm clouds moving in. We cut lunch short but the rain caught us. We never got rained on very hard, it was more of a light rain. 

We descended for most of the afternoon. Some time after lunch and before Bear Creek Scott’s stomach acted up. He dealt with GI issues until after 4 pm. We were told that Bear Creek was shin deep, but I was able to cross without even getting my feet wet on the rocks. Scott tried to do the same but failed in his attempt.

Later in the day we had wait out some thunder before the last small but strenuous climb. At the top of the climb was one of my favorite forested areas of the trail. There was barely any ground cover but large widely spaced trees. I remembered it clearly from 2007. It was an area that both Scott and I didn’t feel the need to talk. We just quietly passed through.

To end the day we had a brutally long descent down to Mono Creek. My heels were getting hot on the descent, I hope nothing comes of it.  At the bottom there was a ton of tents around the junction and creek.

DAY 10

Day 10 – 9/4/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Mono Creek M122.4 to Mile 140.2

17.8 Miles, 169.7 Total Miles 

6:50 am to  5:30pm

Most Cloudy 60’s to 79’s – Day 3 w/ Rain

Pass(es)

  • Silver

Critters

100 Humans

12 Chipmunks

5 Squirrels

3 Ground Squirrel 

2 Marmots

Total

941+ Humans

123 Chipmunks 

34 Marmots

15 Deer

10 Ground Squirrel

8 Pikas

7 Squirrel

2 Lizard

2 Coyotes

35? Trout

Birds (Total)

Dark-eyed Junco

Clark’s Nuthatch

Northern Flicker 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Western Bluebird

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Nashville Warbler

Bald Eagle

Green-tailed Towhee

Common Raven

American Dipper

Stellar Jay

Rufous Hummingbird 

Sooty Grouse

Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

Rock Wren???

Cedar Waxwing 

Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

Mountain Chickadee

Sparrow???

Today started well, then came more rain, then the day ended well again. The rain did put my mood into a funk for a better part of the afternoon. Most of the day was just damp, and that brought me down.

I slept well but once again there was a slight hesitation to get up on time. No crazy dreams to report. It was fairly warm last night. 

When I got up I put duck tape on the bottoms of my heels to help with the heat build up on the descents. They were so warm on the last descent and the heat has been building for days now. I think it’s my socks. 

The climb up to Silver Pass, 10,779’ was long with two meadows to pass through. They were both beautiful, as were the waterfalls along the trail. I recognized the spot where I left my fishing reel behind in 2007 and I had run back 10 minutes for it.

We first saw the storm clouds building on the way up but those were in front of us. As we descended a large clouds formed behind us and grew as got lower. 

The rain caught us just after lunch, which we had at Cascade Valley Trail Junction. We climbed up some serious vert via switch backs to Lake Virginia. This was one of the few placed the mosquitoes were plentiful.

After the lake there was a small climb and I recognized a spot that in 2007 stood out to me. A very large portion of the mountain to the left had broken off and crashed down. You could see the giant pile of rock and soil it made just next to the trail. The amount of debris was mind boggling. The noise it must have made when it broke off must have been so loud.

It was down to Purple Lake and another amazing view to add to the costless others. We climbed up and around the next peak to the junction of Duck Lake and we’re camped just beyond. 

Our camp is a bit open and windy. Cooking was tough as a result. I think it’s time to switch back to a canister stove. 

Last thing of note was I had to sew the ass of my shorts for the second time on this trip. The left rear pocket has stitching that came out causing a hole in it too but I’m not sewing it. 

DAY 11

Day 11 – 9/5/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Mile 140.2 to Rosalie Lake M159.7

19.5 Miles, 189.2 Total Miles 

6:40 am to 6 pm

Most Cloudy 60’s to 70’s – Day 4 w/ Rain

Pass(es)

Critters

112 Humans

37 Chipmunks

8 Squirrels

4 Deer (2 bucks)

2 Frogs

Total

1053+ Humans

160 Chipmunks 

34 Marmots

19 Deer

15 Squirrel

10 Ground Squirrel

8 Pikas

2 Frogs

2 Lizard

2 Coyotes

35? Trout

Birds (Total)

1- Dark-eyed Junco

2- Clark’s Nuthatch

3- Northern Flicker 

4- Black-capped Chickadee 

5- Western Bluebird

6- Red-breasted Nuthatch

7- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

8- Nashville Warbler

9- Bald Eagle

10- Green-tailed Towhee

11- Common Raven

12- American Dipper

13- Stellar Jay

14- Rufous Hummingbird 

15- Sooty Grouse

16- Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

17- Cedar Waxwing 

18-American Robin

19- Mountain Chickadee

20- Lewis Woodpecker 

21- Rock Wren???

22- Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

23- Sparrow???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

It was a chilly morning for sure. Just as we finished packing up we saw another hiking approaching. It turned out to be Martin from Switzerland. He got turned around at Silver Pass and descended all the way to VVR due to a storm. 

I walked with him at a brisk pace for a while and we caught up. Finally, I let him go so I could wait for Scott. 

We made good time into Red’s Meadow even despite finding cell service near an area called the Red Cones. I called my folks and David to check in and say hello.

At Red’s Meadow I got a chocolate shake, grilled cheese and fruit. We charged our batteries some and got our resupply bucket. I didn’t even consider buying anything at the store. This really shocked me. A whole store of food and I didn’t even consider getting anything.

We left around 1:30 and hiked to about 6 pm. In hind sight we should have pushed on, to get in better position for the next nights camp. There’s a no camping band within 4 miles of Tuolumne Meadows, and we should have gone further so we had less to do tomorrow to get as close as possible to the no camping area. (In the end it all worked out just fine).

We are camped at Rosalie Lake which is beautiful.  It’s surrounded half by cliffs and woods on the rest. There’s quite a few people here tonight. 

During dinner we had a fire!

DAY 12

Day 12 – 9/6/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Rosalie Lake M159.7 to Ireland Creek M180.9

21.2 Miles, 210.4 Total Miles 

6:40 am to 6:30 pm

Most Cloudy 60’s to 70’s

4 Days of Rain

Pass(es)

  • Island
  • Donohue 

Critters

210 Humans

14 Deer

14 Chipmunks

6 Pikas

6 Trout

4 Squirrels

3 Ground Squirrels 

2 Marmots

Total

1263+ Humans

174 Chipmunks 

36 Marmots

33 Deer

19 Squirrels

14 Pikas

13 Ground Squirrels

2 Frogs

2 Lizard

2 Coyotes

41? Trout

Birds (Total)

1- Dark-eyed Junco

2- Clark’s Nuthatch

3- Northern Flicker 

4- Black-capped Chickadee 

5- Western Bluebird

6- Red-breasted Nuthatch

7- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

8- Nashville Warbler

9- Bald Eagle

10- Green-tailed Towhee

11- Common Raven

12- American Dipper

13- Stellar Jay

14- Rufous Hummingbird 

15- Sooty Grouse

16- Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

17- Cedar Waxwing 

18-American Robin

19- Mountain Chickadee

20- Lewis Woodpecker 

21- Osprey

22- Rock Wren???

23- Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

24- Sparrow???

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

I slept pretty well last night. (Tonight’s spot isn’t flat. I’ll be falling to my left). 

We climbed out of Rosalie Lake then descended to Shadow Lake which was beautiful. I can see why most of the campsites have been closed. It most likely got over used. 

We climbed again from there and then descended to Garnet Lake which was even more beautiful. By now the wind had picked up   This meant two things. One, no mosquitoes and two, wind burn at the end of the day. 

Garnet Lake is mostly all surrounded by mountains but the outlet. The west side has a couple huge peaks, Banner and Ritter. The clouds were engulfing their tops most of the day. 

Again we climbed from Garnet and descended to Thousand Island Lake where the PCT rejoined the JMT. Climbing once again we created our first pass of the day Island Pass, 10,226’. We had lunch a little ways down from the pass. 

After lunch we climbed up to Donohue Pass, 11,074’. I had reception so I called my dad and sent a few texts. The climb wasn’t steep but both Scott and I agreed it kinda kicked out butts.

The descent from Donohue Pass was long. The beginning wasn’t too steep but the end before we got to Lyell Canyon was. Lyell Canyon is beautiful, with meadows, deer, trees and a serpentine river. 

Tomorrow might be our last day. 

DAY 13

Day 13 – 9/7/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Ireland Creek M180.9 to Campsite M202.4

21.5 Miles, 231.9 Total Miles 

6:50 am to 6:40 pm

Most Sunny 60’s to 70’s 

4 Days of Rain

Pass(es)

  • Cathedral

Critters

180 Humans

21 Chipmunks

10 Deer (2 Bucks)

7 Ground Squirrels 

5 Trout

5 Squirrels

Total

1443+ Humans

195 Chipmunks 

43 Deer (4 Bucks)

36 Marmots

24 Squirrels

20 Ground Squirrels

14 Pikas

2 Frogs

2 Lizard

2 Coyotes

46? Trout

Birds (Total)

1- Dark-eyed Junco

2- Clark’s Nuthatch

3- Northern Flicker 

4- Black-capped Chickadee 

5- Western Bluebird

6- Red-breasted Nuthatch

7- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

8- Nashville Warbler

9- Bald Eagle

10- Green-tailed Towhee

11- Common Raven

12- American Dipper

13- Stellar Jay

14- Rufous Hummingbird 

15- Sooty Grouse

16- Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

17- Cedar Waxwing 

18-American Robin

19- Mountain Chickadee

20- Lewis Woodpecker 

21- Osprey

22- Brewers Black Bird

23- Rock Wren???

24- Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

25- Sparrow???

26- Mystery duck

27- Random Ducks

Hermit Thrush – HEARD

Wow! We woke up to a lot of condensation inside our tents. I slept well but my right hip hurt as I walked into Tuolumne Meadows. Right where you IT Band crosses you hip bone. It’s not the first time this trip it’s been sore. I don’t know if it’s from sleeping or walking, maybe both.

We had great views of the river and fog rolling through the valley. We also saw two bucks, one little one and one big buck. The little one was very curious of us. 

Once at the store we hit the grill and had a second breakfast. I got an egg sandwich and home fries. So tasty! We stayed a while talking to the other hikers. We saw Sassy and Chance again. I was embarassed as I didn’t recognize her at first.

Scott and I argued as to how many more miles we had to do to finish. At first I thought it was only like 14 then realized it was 23. Scott kept saying it was 15. As a result we didn’t leave right away. I was chopping at the bit and Scott enjoyed 3 cups of coffee (For the record it was 23 miles!). We left around 11:50 am and back tracked to where we left the JMT. There we caught the woman we first met out of camp and had just sat with at the store. We walked together until the PCT turned off. 

We battled through the tourists and made our way up to Cathedral Pass, our last high point of the trip. We saw lots of people along the way. Once to the top we started the long descent to Yosemite Valley. It didn’t seem real that we were so close to the end. I was just getting comfortable with the day to day routine.

We made it to Mile 202.4, which means we’re only 8 miles from the end. We camped with two other NOBOs. As we just finished dinner a hiker came by and it was Triple Whammy, who we met at Muir Ranch. He looked super loopy as he had done 28 miles already. I thought he was on drugs until he told us about his day. He ended up staying with us. Now we’re five. 

DAY 14

Day 14 – 9/8/19 – 2019 JMT JOURNAL

Campsite M202.4 to FINISH

8 Miles, 239.9 Total Miles 

6:40 am to 9:57 am

Most Sunny 60’s to 70’s 

4 Days of Rain

Pass(es)

Critters

397 Humans

8 Ground Squirrels 

4 Squirrels

1 Chipmunks

Total

1840+ Humans

196 Chipmunks 

43 Deer (4 Bucks)

36 Marmots

28 Ground Squirrels

28 Squirrels

14 Pikas

2 Frogs

2 Lizard

2 Coyotes

46? Trout

Birds (Total)

1- Dark-eyed Junco

2- Clark’s Nuthatch

3- Northern Flicker 

4- Black-capped Chickadee 

5- Western Bluebird

6- Red-breasted Nuthatch

7- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

8- Nashville Warbler

9- Bald Eagle

10- Green-tailed Towhee

11- Common Raven

12- American Dipper

13- Stellar Jay

14- Rufous Hummingbird 

15- Sooty Grouse

16- Hairy/Downy Woodpecker???

17- Cedar Waxwing 

18-American Robin

19- Mountain Chickadee

20- Lewis Woodpecker 

21- Osprey

22- Brewers Black Bird

23- Brown Crepper

24- Rock Wren???

25- Hawk??? – Cooper Hawk shape 

26- Sparrow???

27- Mystery duck

28- Random Ducks

HEARD

  • Hermit Thrush
  • Great Horned Owl

Last night was really cold. Despite this I slept well.

Scott was slow to get up so I had to rouse him. I was already cold and knew if I didn’t wake him I would get even colder waiting for him to get ready. As we packed up I saw some movement from one of the two people we camped with. Triple Whammy was almost packed as we left.

Scott and I made really good time down the mountain. I was surprised at the speed at which Scott was moving, as both his ankles were giving him trouble at this point. We were both surprised that Triple Whammy hadn’t caught us.

When we hit the trail junction for a side trail to Half Dome the number of people increased greatly. The highlight of the descent had to be Nevada Falls. We crossed right at the top. I went out on a rock, right to the edge to get a better look. Scott was not so brave. As we descended we got a lot more views of the falls.

At the next junction we ran into Triple Whammy. I yelled at him “THAT’S NOT THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL!” as he took a different descending trail than we did. He said he saw hundreds of people the way he went. When we met Scott and I had seen 212 people. In the next three quarters of a mile we saw 185 people! It was insane! The path was paved and just full of groups of car tourists gleaming for a view of wilderness.

We got to the end of the trail at 9:57 am. There wasn’t even a sign saying it was the end/beginning of the JMT.

We walked with Triple Whammy to Curry Village where we split ways. He had to shower and catch a bus to Fresno. We continued on to find coffee for Scott and food for me. Scott got his coffee and I had to wait a little bit for pizza as it was only 10:30 am. We people watched and tried to process the trip but with all the people and commotion it was impossible.

After eating we walked to the main visitor center to figure out the bus schedule. Once we had a plan we took a bus to El Cap Meadow. Scott took a nap in the sand under a tree while I walked around the meadow and then went over to the base of El Cap to touch the iconic rock. It was pretty intense.

We caught a bus back to the visitor center and then waited for the next one to take us to Mammoth Lakes where I left my van. The bus ride was 3:20 minutes. It was a long day!

2019 JMT JOURNAL RECAP

Overall the JMT was amazing. It has it’s difficulties like and trip of this kind is bound to have but in the end Scott and I both completed our goal of thru-hiking the John Muir Trail. I would have loved to have seen a bear during the trip but I saw so much other amazing stuff that I’m okay without having seen one.

Some of my favorite areas were: Forester Pass, Muir Pass, Palisade Lakes, Shadow Lake, Evolution Basin, Garnet Lake, and seeing El Cap after the hike. After watching the movie “Free Solo” and then standing at the base of El Cap, it moved me. It’s an incredible piece of rock, for a lack of better words.

Up next I’ll hopefully hike the Colorado Trail, which will complete the Mini Triple Crown (Long Trail, John Muir Trail, and Colorado Trail) giving me three Triple Crowns in total.