John Muir Trail ’13: I did it!

John Muir
John Muir

This is just a quick post to let everybody know, that I’ve successfully completed my thru-hike of the John Muir Trail in California. It was a really awesome adventure, probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! The hike and the scenery have by far exceeded my expectations!

I did not encounter major problems, was fortunate enough to have no injuries at all (not even blisters, chafing or a twisted ankle) and also all the gear held up well, nothing important was broken or lost. I’m really surprised everything went so smoothly!

Some of the highlights from my point of view were (just google for nice images, I will post mine when I’m home):

  • Half Dome (the cables are just insane)
  • Lyell Canyon
  • Thousand Islands Lake (swimming in front of an impressive mountain scenery at 3000m above sea level)
  • Evolution Valley
  • Mather Pass (What a view into the Upper Basin)
  • Rae Lakes (swimming again)
  • Forester Pass (first time above 4000m and what a view) and the following miles
  • Bighorn Plateau
  • Sunrise on Mount Whitney

Some random facts:

I started at Glacier Point above Yosemite Valley on 16th July at noon, summitted Mt. Whitney on 2nd August at 5:30 am and exited at Whitney Portal on the same day at lunchtime – two days earlier than originally planned.

  • # of miles hiked: roughly 230
  • # of days on the trail: 19 (including one extra day in Yosemite)
  • # days I used my raingear: 2 (only once it was really necessary)
  • # of bear encounters: 0 (they weren’t even interested in my food at night)
  • # of days above 4000m: 2
  • # of ’nicely graded switchbacks‘: (feels like) gazillions
  • # of times I used soap on the trail: not sayin‘ 😉
  • # of mosquitos: hardly any (even threw away my deet at Muir Trail Ranch)
  • # of rest days: 0
  • # of resupplies: 1 (at Muir Trail Ranch the pack got about 5 kg heavier)
  • longest downhill: 6000+ft – from Mt. Whitney down to the Portal, but it was worth it – a burger was waiting there!
  • # of pictures taken: ~1500

Thanks to all who I met on the trail who made this hike such a joyful experience, especially Kevin, Nick & Shenan, Rob & Peter & John, Frederick, Mark, Lars (and many more – I’m so bad at remembering names) and those at home who were tracking my progress and were „virtually“ hiking with me! It was a new and ‚interesting‘ experience to be unable to contact the ‚outside world‘ for about 10 days!

Would I hike the JMT again? Yes! Not tomorrow, not next year, but someday – definitely!

Currently I’m looking forward to going home, but I’m stuck in Lone Pine, CA – no busses going out of this place on the weekend 🙁 Yet I’m lucky to be still hanging out with some fellow hikers…

Update (1): Here’s a first set of photos:

At the JMT trailhead in Yosemite - a loooong way to go!
At the JMT trailhead in Yosemite – a loooong way to go!
On top of Forrester Pass (4009m)
On top of Forester Pass (4009m)

Mount Whitney at sunrise
Mount Whitney (4421m) at sunrise – the JMT ends here…
Taking a break at Trail Crest before going down to Whitney Portal
Taking a well-earned break at Trail Crest (4150m) before the final descent to Whitney Portal

Update (2): In another post you will find a more detailed overview on my hike and in the meantime I’ve also completed writing a day-by-day trail journal.

Must be said: Thanks to Lars for letting me use his computer and to McDonald’s Lone Pine for the free WiFi!



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14 thoughts on “John Muir Trail ’13: I did it!

  1. Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Habe Deinen Blog schon länger verfolgt, da ich am 8. August selbst auf den JMT aufbreche. Habe gerade letzte Vorbereitungen in San Francisco erledigt. Zu lesen, dass alles glatt ging und Du eine einzigartige Zeit auf dem Trail hattest, ist inspirierend.
    Dir eine gute Heimreise und langes Anhalten Deiner Eindrücke.
    Viele Grüsse
    Angela aus München

  2. Hi Gert,

    thank you for posting so nice pictures and for reporting about your trip in detail so that also people like me who will never experience such a trail themselves can share your experiences at least in a virtual manner. I’ve just read your report on day 1 and can hardly wait for the reports on the later days.

    BTW: Do you want me to hand you over the „ancient witch logbook“? If so, let me know when you are around.

  3. Thanks for all the positive feedback!

    I will try to get the posts for the individual days up as soon as possible. But I’m afraid it will take a while…
    Aber wie heisst’s so schön: Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude! 😉

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