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So Much for the John Muir Trail

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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Cross Country » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:46 am

I don't ever remember hiking into the backcountry to accomplish anything - Not to do the JMT, scale Whitney or any other peak, or catch a big fish. I just wanted to enjoy being there and exploring. Now, because of the internet anyone can know about and see almost anywhere without going there. For me that would have been a shame to know that in advance of my trip. I could have only discovered less for myself than I did. I would have enjoyed it less than I did.



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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby zacjust32 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:59 am

CC I don't mean to insinuate that you said something you didn't. As far as i can tell nobody here would say anything like that. We all just want people to appreciate the High Sierra for what its worth. Aside from giving out our favorite fishing holes or camping spots of course :D

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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Hobbes » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:18 am

My brother and I are good examples of some different kinds of hiking/backpacking styles.

He's the classic (medium) heavy packer, hikes lower miles per day, likes to wander around and explore 3rd class x-country routes with nothing particular in mind, doesn't really plan what or where he's going (other than how many days he's out), doesn't take a map (other than maybe a generic 15 minute of the area), doesn't leave an itinerary, and thinks getting stuck in class 3-4 situations is 'fun'. His hiking partner from his 20s & 30s (with whom he had many adventures) was even more core, and has done the north-west face of Half Dome (with ropes), as well as Rainer and other NW alpine volcanoes.

Here's a good anecdotal story: Around 7-8 years ago my brother was coming down the Kuna crest towards Lyle, and came across a young couple coming the other way. Turns out they were staffers @ Vogelsang out for a hike on their day off and had taken an x-country path over the Cathedral divide. Well, he thought that sounded fun, so they gave him a basic description and off he went. His traverse route covered many of the areas described in these TRs:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2405
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14805#p110640

What makes this interesting from the standpoint of differences in styles and preferences is he did it on a whim, rather than as a planned hike. He didn't study the route, didn't have a good map, but rather relied on his experience and comfort level. He had enough food, had enough time, knows how to read the terrain, and is just generally comfortable with himself.

Me? I'm the complete opposite, but we both like to hang out, so there's really no right or wrong. Our younger brother is (slightly) decompressing a little bit from his exec career and has expressed interest in taking a short backpacking trip this summer. He's more like me, so my x-country brother just smiles and says "have fun guys". LOL
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:59 am

Seeing something on the internet, no matter how impressive the video or photo presentation, is 2-dimensional, even if presented in 3-d, it is still on a screen. The actual experience is totally different. Researching and looking at an area digitally, before actually going out there, in no way detracts from my personal experience. In fact, I enjoy it more, because I can target those areas that really appeal to me, cutting down on the trial-and-error method. The older I get, the more I want to see, and I do not want to spend too much time and effort on trips that would not appeal to me. Information on a route is very useful and helps me prioritize my trips. I love to spend hours on Google Earth; and I love to go out there too.

As for climbing, one becomes hooked on it simply because of the experience. A good climb on a no-name peak was just as satisfying as a climb on a big-named peak. Not better, not worse. A good climb is a good climb. A good backpack is a good backpack, regardless of bragging rights, or what ever else. It took me a while to get to this point. For a long time I would only do backpacking in the mountains. Now I have expanded into coastal hiking and other environments. I thoroughly enjoy these too.

No matter what the initial reason, or method of hiking, completing the JMT is an accomplishment. Whether I ever want to do it or not, I do not lessen the value of others who want to do it. They have every right to be proud of what they did.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Snowtrout » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:47 pm

I think there is lots of great advice and discussions here. Everyone has different motives and expectations about hitting the trail, just need to find out what works best for you or your group. I tried the JMT last June and quit after 5 days: it was not the experience I was used to nor the way I liked to enjoy the outdoors. Took that trip to really figure out what type of hiking experience my wife and I like. I will say preparing for that trip (logistics, food, gear, etc), really changed my approach to trip planning though.

If you really want to hike the JMT (exact route), stand in line at a ranger station and hope to get a permit from there. As some said, quite a few permit holders never show up. If you want to hike the JMT but are willing to start from a trail head off the main trail, plan it that way and try to get a permit. Or don't limit yourself and create your own trail through the high Sierra, choosing the staring point, resupply areas and ending point. There are lots of trail heads that have permits always available and beautiful areas that are seldom traveled. Just need to decide what you really want to do.....ultimately that's what matters most.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby creekfeet » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:16 am

Everyone hikes for different reasons. I've personally never been into peak-bagging because every time I find myself sitting on top of some exposed, sun-cooked mountain, all I can think about is how I'd much rather be swimming in one of the many alpine lakes or creeks I'm gazing at.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Hobbes » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:45 am

If you go to the beach, you will see: some people sunbathing; some people playing in the water/body surfing; some people building sand castles; some people surfing; some people playing volleyball; some people jogging; some people strolling; some people eating; some people bicycling; some people skating/skateboarding; some people fishing; some people offshore sailing/boating; some people listening to (street) music; some people cruising to meet other people; some people drinking (in bars); some people shopping; some people out for a drive; some people ...

Other than beach curfew hours (midnight to 5am) and some basic regulations regarding prohibitions about public intoxication, dogs, etc, there aren't really any rules, which is why everyone is pretty much having fun doing their own thing. The Sierra are the same exact thing.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Cross Country » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:29 am

As to what WD said - the experience is NOT totally different like she said. It is totally different for her.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:19 pm

If you have been in the Sierra or to a certain location, then when you look at it on the internet (Google Earth, other's trip reports, etc), you are experiencing your past trips as well as what is in front of you. It brings back memories of the warmth of the sun, wind on face, etc. I think that is why a lot of us take photos- to help bring back those memories. I will be doing the same thing when I get too old to hike. BUT, if you are simply looking at places you have never been, you are getting a very different experience than actually being there. Even when "virtual reality pods" become popular entertainment, it will not be the same, because you do not interact with reality. For one thing the time frame is compressed. Now, that may be a good thing! I have a friend who does armchair world-wide touring. She went on one real trip and hated it; could not stand the smells, crowds, noise, discomfort of strage language or environments. I do suppose I would rather see someone's video of sitting out a big storm on Mt. Everest than actually being there during that event.

So one reson for doing the JMT would be to have the real experience. Then you can selectively remember the good parts in your old age.
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Re: So Much for the John Muir Trail

Postby sekihiker » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:55 pm

powderhound wrote: Hell for Sure pass


It's not even Heck-for-Sure now and it never was on its west side. The trail used to come straight up the canyon wall from Goddard Canyon and I'm sure it was Hell-for-Sure back then on the east side.
powderhound wrote:bears in the more remote regions of Kings Canyon.

In my experience bears are not a problem in the more remote regions of Kings Canyon/Sequoia. They hang out near trails where people are careless with their food. In remote areas, they walk on by with barely a hello. NPI The bear problem is almost nonexistent compared to the 80's and 90's. Bear boxes and canisters and a strong education program seem to have taken care of most of the problem.
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