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Home Forums Trails John Muir Trail A few JMT Questions

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    Wayne Fenton (@DukeSilas)

    Hello Jeff and everyone here on the forums.

    I have a few questions about the JMT which I’m struggling to find answers for so I wonder if anyone can help me out?

    I’m planning to do the JMT next summer (2014) with my wife. We have planned our gear, route (25 days), and rough start date (actual date dependent upon permit issue!).

    Does anyone know if Yosemite NP has some kind of luggage storage facility? We will be arriving from the UK with our hiking gear plus other luggage. After the JMT we have at least 6 more weeks in the USA, followed by time in New Zealnd & China, thus we have more gear to stow during our time on the trail. We intend to collect this after we return to Yosemite from Lone Pine.

    We’re hoping to get a permit that will start from Happy Isles around mid July onwards. I expect this may be a busy time and so how easy would it be to get a walk up permit for two people should we not get our preffered dates?

    We intend to be using Osprey Exos 58 packs (2014 model). If anyone used these, how did you find the load carry when leaving the John Muir Ranch. My baseweight is around 8kgs, so with 8 or so days worth of food it goes up to around 17 kgs, albeit for only a day and then diminishing over the following days.

    Finally, bear canisters, and is it best to rent or buy them? As we are heading north after the JMT (CA, Oregon and Wyoming) would they be useful there or just rely on lockers?

    I’m really looking forward to this adventure. I have the Muir Project film on pre-order and, to be honest, cannot stop thinking about this to the point I’m getting a little obsessed!

    Thanks for any help,

    Jeff Hester

    Great questions, Wayne. I’ll try my best to answer, but maybe others will chime in.

    Luggage storage in Yosemite
    There is none, per se, but some people use the bear lockers. Keep in mind that these are not “locked” from humans and therefore not really secure. I’ve heard some people stash a duffle bag in there for a few days, with a note attached to the ranger explaining when they will return. Most people will respect that, but I’m not sure that would work for a 25-day trip on the JMT.

    One option is to “mail” the luggage you want to store to yourself at a Post Office, much like a food drop (see our resupply page for instructions). And no, you can’t just drop it off at the post office, unfortunately.

    Walk-up Permits for the JMT
    A permit for two should be pretty do-able, as long as you’re flexible. Yosemite reserves 40% of the available permits for walk-ups. The line often forms the night before, and you’re not allowed to “camp” in line (i.e. no sleeping). The ranger station opens at 8am. If you can’t get a Happy Isles trailhead start, consider Glacier Point. There’s a shuttle from the valley to Glacier Point, and it joins the JMT at the top of Nevada Falls.

    You’ll also have better luck on weekdays. We didn’t get a Monday start, but got our first choice for Tuesday (faxing in our app).

    Osprey Exos 58 Packs
    My wife has an Osprey pack and loved it. Can’t really comment about that specific model though.

    Bear Canisters – Rent or Buy?
    You’ll need bear canisters for the entire JMT, and you may need them in the other areas you visit (there are bears up there, too). I would double-check with the governing agencies on that. Having a bear canister is good from the standpoint that it protects the bears (a fed bear is a dead bear); it protects your trip (you don’t lose your food); and it makes a handy little stool or table. It’s also bulky and heavy. Suck it up and get them. You’ll be out there long enough that it’ll be worth it, and you’ll use them again as you travel up north.

    Hope this help!

    Wayne Fenton (@DukeSilas)

    Thanks for the reply Jeff.

    I never thought of mailing luggage! We could collect at Lone Pine I suppose mmmmmm…Food for thought!

    We are flexible with days and would prefer a weekday start. We intend to fax our application but we’ll be in South America and as such will be unsure of access to a fax machine at the moment. To be fair we Brits invented queueing so we should be good with that! We have hiked up to Glacier Point before so that’s not an issue at all.

    I think we will probably buy the bear canisters for the reasons you state (at $55 or so each it won’t break the bank). They will also generate a little interest at home at BBQs and such like..’No that’s not a stool, it’s a bear canister!!”.

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