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[pct-l] Steve's Excellent JMT Adventure

Nice review.

Guess you know where to carry your permit next time. Did they ask to see 
your bear canister (or was that pretty obvious)?

Regarding food consumption - most people can't eat that much when first 
starting out. I'm not surprised that you couldn't eat all you carried.  But, 
when you do the whole PCT, you may find you need everything you carried this 
time. So, don't presume you will need less by the time you reach Kennedy 
Meadows. The real hunger often doesn't start until after 1 1/2 months.

Marshall Karon
Portland, OR

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Peterson" <steve_peterson@sbcglobal.net>
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 6:53 PM
Subject: [pct-l] Steve's Excellent JMT Adventure

> Just got back from my 16-day JMT hike (7 Sep - 22 Sep). I'll be making a 
> website for the details, but here are some highlights:
> - This was to be a "dress rehearsal" for an '05 PCT thru-hike, so I tried 
> to do it as if I were thru-hiking (though in the opposite direction and 
> without snow on the ground, high stream levels, etc.). Generally did 15-18 
> mile days and resupplied only once, at MTR.
> - I crammed 28,000 calories into my Garcia bear can (4,000 per day) in an 
> effort to see if a) I could actually eat that much of that type of food (I 
> couldn't), b) it was enough for the effort I'd be exerting (it was), and 
> c) if I would lose weight on that amount (I did, but not as much as last 
> year, when I lost 6 lbs in 11 days, hiking only 10-15 mpd). This year I 
> seem to have lost only 4-5 lbs over 16 days, but I need a better selection 
> of food so I'll eat more. I had plenty, I just didn't eat it all.
> - Saskia and Jan arrived from Holland with no easy way to get to Yosemite; 
> housed them the first night in SF, helped them assemble their resupply and 
> UPS it to VVR (on Labor Day, no less) then we all drove to Y together on 
> one of the hottest days this summer. Had great weather for the first 2/3 
> of the hike--high 70s, low 80s, no clouds. We hiked together the first few 
> days, then got separated for good when they resupplied at VVR and I hiked 
> on.
> - We were told by a ranger in Y that there was no water between LYV and 
> Sunrise and no water at Sunrise. Figured we would have to stay at Sunrise 
> Lakes if we wanted water that night, but the ranger turned out to be 
> wrong, wrong, wrong. Water was scarce on the way, but definitely there and 
> findable. Plenty at the high sierra camp, too (from the faucet). Others 
> had the same experience.
> - Saw a young caramel-colored bear while having lunch along Sunrise creek. 
> It ignored us, and I think Jan got some photos, while Saskia and I were 
> hastily packing up lunch and looking for Mom.
> - Used a bunch of new-to-me gear: alcohol stove (previously used Esbit), 
> Nunatak quilt (needs more down), a pack of my own design/fabrication 
> (worked well, needs some minor enhancements), tarp of my own construction 
> made of spinnaker fabric and taped (not sewn) together which held up even 
> in very high winds, Propore jacket (worked well), solar umbrella (2nd 
> season--love it; shades entire upper body, not just head) with telescoping 
> shaft that doubled as tarp pole when 2nd tree (or any tree) was not 
> available; and Aqua Mira (used iodine for previous long hike) which worked 
> well and wasn't too fiddly once I got an efficient routine going.
> - Left my fuel bottle behind on day 3, used small (4" diameter) camp fires 
> to cook dinner until my resupply at MTR. Boils water as fast as alcohol 
> stove, simmers well (just rake it apart a little), but blackens pot and is 
> fiddly. Haven't cooked over fire since I was 9. so it was a little strange 
> at first, but after the first time worked well. Thankfully this happened 
> during the first half of the trip, not the last, since fires were totally 
> banned in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, but not Muir Wilderness. Anyway, what a 
> bozo mistake--not a good sign for a budding thru-hiker. I could have also 
> eaten cold dinners (i.e., 2nd lunches) and stretched the food, and 
> survived as well.
> - My training hikes (once/week, 8-9 hrs, full pack, 3-4,000' gain, similar 
> loss, with few rest breaks and fast pace) along with supplementary 2-hr, 
> easier walks for the 2-3 months prior were enough to get me in adequate 
> shape (and I'm 54). The trail did the rest, though I made sure that days 2 
> & 3 were easy days to recover from the first hard day (we went up the more 
> scenic, but probably harder Mist Trail) and to acclimate to the altitude.
> - Encountered very high winds and drastically colder temps as I approached 
> Pinchot pass; figured all hell was about to break loose but couldn't read 
> the weather well enough to know what form it would take. The night at Lake 
> Marjorie (just before the pass)  was very windy and very cold--the tarp, 
> pitched so low I could hardly crawl into it, cracked like a whip in the 
> wind and was weighted down with rocks all the way around to keep it in 
> place. Climbed over the pass and hiked on, watching clouds come in. Got to 
> Rae Lake and got some light hail, which turned into about an inch of snow 
> overnight, with high winds and low (28-32F) temps. Windy, cloudy, and 
> intermittently snowy in the morning, I debated going over Glenn Pass vs. 
> bailing; finally got a small break in the weather which served to get me 
> going toward the pass, but the blue sky disappeared quickly and the 
> snowstorm returned. Going over the pass I couldn't really see the trail 
> that well, but by following footprints, made it over the top.
> Down the other side a ranger stopped me to ask for my permit. I'm 
> ultralight, wearing everything I own, and staying warm only by moving 
> fairly rapidly. I protested mildly, but to no avail. The permit was buried 
> halfway down my pack, so out came a bunch of stuff, scattered like a 
> yard-sale over the snow-covered trail. Satisfied, she let me pack up and 
> take off, but it took me an hour to warm up. Found a dry place to camp 
> below Vidette Meadow, survived the night, then had a magical morning of 
> walking through fresh snow (maybe an inch or two deep) looking at various 
> animal tracks, snow sparkling in the sun with not much wind, icicles 
> hanging from boulders in the creeks. By the time I got over Forester, the 
> trail was bare, the temps were cold, but the wind had abated 
> significantly. Chugged down the other side, I camped at Tyndall Creek, 
> where another hail/snow storm did its thing for a couple of hours.
> The next day it started to warm up a little, though at Crabtree it was 
> only about 50F in the shade -- a far cry from what I had been dealing with 
> at the beginning of the trip. Got to Guitar Lake early enough that the sun 
> still had enough warmth that I could bathe and wash clothes for the first 
> time in four days. Nice! Found a nicely protected site in the rocks to 
> hide from the wind and enjoyed a relatively warm and quiet night.
> Got up Whitney the next day in warm, sunny conditions. Definitely worth 
> the climb! Got down to Whitney Portal by about 4pm after chatting way too 
> much with people coming up; got a ride to Bishop with a guy I'd met on the 
> way down from the peak--a definite boost up Hwy 395 that I hadn't planned 
> on (my car being back at Yosemite Valley).
> Next morning I was hitching for about 20 minutes when a black Cherokee 
> swerved over and stopped. It was Saskia and Jan with Jeffrey, a guy we'd 
> met in Yosemite and that I'd seen only once since then, at Sunrise the 
> first night. What a coincidence!! They'd bailed over Taboose pass after 
> spending a day trying to wait out the storm and had hitched to get to WP 
> where Jeffrey had stashed his Jeep. They'd stayed in Bishop that night, 
> too, and only a block or so away from me. Needless to say, this was a 
> terrific piece of luck since Jeffrey was headed back to SF via Tioga Pass 
> and could drop me off at the Valley (and very kindly did).
> -- Learned a lot on the trip; have some hard thinking to do before I 
> tackle the PCT. I can really appreciate what those who thru-hike the 
> Sierras in mid-June go through--my trail was (mostly) obvious, (mostly) 
> snow-free, I never got my feet wet, even at Evolution Creek (found a 
> rock-hop), no bugs (except ants) and it was still a pretty tiring 8-9 
> hours/day most days.
> --I'm putting together a website containing my detailed log, gear list, 
> water observations, etc. that should help others planning a 
> late-season/dry year hike. I'll post the URL here when it's up.
>   -- Steve ("Fuel? Who needs fuel?")
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