Having coffee with my wife the other morning, in early July. She mentioned the she had the last weeks of August off, the kids are back in school, not much going on, "Why don't you hop on a bus down to Yosemite and do some of that trail you're always talking about." Of course, this caught my attention like nothing else. Seriously thought about it for a couple of weeks, collected a piece of gear here, a piece of gear there...
I didn't have my hopes up too high, as there are record crowds at Yosemite this summer, and since the thru-hiking movies, "Wild," and, "A Walk in the Woods," permits for the trail are tough to come by. My plan was to hop on Amtrak, get down to Yosemite, and hope to get a walk-up permit out of Tuolemne Meadows, a point on the Trail out of the Valley, about 34 miles south. I never gave Happy Isles Trailheal much thought, as JMT thru-hikes from there (the official start) are tightly regulated on a lotto, and if you don't have your permit secured by June, forget-about-it...
Behold, just a couple of days ago, a fellah on a FB JMT Hiker group that I belong, posted that his partner bailed, and he had an open spot on his permit. I can't go the whole 211 miles due to work, but I will sure go as far as I am physically capable.
Now that this opportunity came up, I'm excited, but a bit nervous... Actually nervous as heck. I've never been the most fit fellow out there. I have, however, been on a pretty good regime these last 3-4 months, I've lost some weight, but still have a long ways to go. My six day itinerary is very ambitious for the terrain being hiked. I should say, it's probably quite easy for a young, athletic, backpacker, neither of which I am. My goal is to one day hike all 224 miles of this trail, but work and family commitments are keeping that from happening. Here is my itinerary, which I have already tweaked, somewhat:
6- Day Itinerary:
Day 1 ~ Leave Happy Isles, Hike 10 miles to Sunrise Creek area (Tent Site 10.5).
Day 2 ~ Hike 12 miles to Tuolumne Meadows area.
Day 3~ Hike 12 miles to Lyell Forks Bridge area.
Day 4 ~ Hike 15 miles to Ediza Lake Trail area.
Day 5 ~ Hike 11 miles to Red's Meadow (possible stop point, shuttle back to Mammoth if too late) depending on time...).
Day 6 ~ (time permitting) Hike 11 miles to Duck Pass Trail to Duck Lake, catch shuttle back to Mammoth.
Just s rundown of my gear:
ULA Circuit Backpack, 23-oz. , SMD Skyscape 1 p tent (34-oz.), Klymit Static V mattress (19-oz.) Aegismax 25° 800 fill goose down mummy bag (17- oz.), SS Under Armor Compression shirt, LS Ex Officio button down hiking shirt, Ex Officio Hiking pants, Under Armour Boxers, Omni-wool base layer bottoms (sleeping) Under Amour Compression Thermal LS top (sleeping), Frogg Toggs poncho, 2-pair wool socks, Merrell Moab Mid hiking boots, BV500, small sundries ziplock, bandages, wipes, TP, tooth brush, etc.
I leave for Yosemite this Saturday, will be on the trail at first light, Sunday.
Wish me luck... I'll post pics when I'm back...