|JMT Elevation Profile|
My friend An and I will be hiking 10 - 15 miles a day though the High Sierras this July. The entire trip will take us about 20 days and we will resupply in Red's Meadows and Muir Trail Ranch. The trip requires fairly extensive planning. Our packs when fully loaded with food and supplies will average 50 or so pounds and as you can see from the elevation profile there are many passes will have to climb with this weight. We want to minimize our weight yet have all the necessary gear and enough food. Further complicating the matter is the fact that all the food must also fit in a bear resistant canister according to National Park regulations. The canisters measures about 9 inches in diameter, 12 inches deep and are made of a tough plastic that bears cannot crush and a locking mechanism they cannot open. At most they hold about a 6 to 7 day food supply for 1 person and it is very difficult to fit more than 1 in a pack at a time.
John Muir spent as much time as he could in the Sierra High Country. He was instrumental in convincing Congress to pass theNnational Park Bill 0f 1890, to establish Yosemite National Park and preserve many other of our wilderness areas. He wrote eloquent accounts of the wilderness in books and essays including one of my favorites, "My First Summer in the Sierra" where he describes his experiences and discoveries while working as a sheep herder as a young man. John Muir describes hiking and climbing these mountains with nothing more than a sack of bread, some black tea and a jacket. Makes me feel kind of wimpy when I consider all the modern gear I will be bringing.
A permit is required to overnight backpack though these wilderness areas and only a limited number of permits are issued for each day in order to minimize impact on the wilderness. Our permit actually has us starting 20 miles up the trail in Toulumne Meadows. In order to hike the entire trail we will day hike the section from the Valley to the Meadows the day before our permit starts. Permits are not required for day hikes and we should be able to make good time as will only need to carry some food and water and not our entire packs.
Last August I spent 7 days in the same Ansel Adams Wilderness and Yosemite National Park hiking from Mammoth Lakes to Toulumne Meadows via the John Muir Trail and returning via the Pacific Crest Trail. Below is a video I assembled using pictures that I took during the trip. I don't exaggerate when I say every day was the best day. Each moment, each vista, each experience is so unbelievably uplifting and awesome and at the same time it is always exceeded by the next one around the corner.
August 2011 High Sierra Backpacking Trip