Your humble blogger took a few weeks off, first on vacation, and then on back-to-back business trips. It’s a new year and I am ready to resume our weekly visits. If you are a regular reader, thanks for hanging in there. If you’re new, I hope you find this worth your time.
A few odds & ends this time around.
Those of you who have read my book know that I am a big proponent of hiking the trail southbound (i.e., starting in Yosemite and ending at Mount Whitney). In Planning Your Thru-Hike of the John Muir Trail I list several good reasons why I think that’s best.
Here is a dissenting opinion. The author prefers going northbound because it keeps the sun out of his eyes and because he is able to meet many more hikers, since the vast majority are going the opposite direction. No matter where you stand on the northbound/southbound question, it’s a good read.
Michael Popov once “hiked” the John Muir Trail, unsupported, in 4 days, 5 hours, 25 minutes. He was an extreme athlete who had a reputation for pushing himself to the edge. Last August, apparently on the spur of the moment, he decided to do a training run through Death Valley. He began at noon, with the temperature at 120 degrees. All indications are that he could have completed the run safely if he hadn’t made a navigation error, significantly lengthening the run. The story of his death was covered in Outside magazine.
Many JMT hikers take a side trip to the top of Half Dome. The cables that assist hikers on the climb survived a challenge from those who wished to rip them down, but that’s about all the good news in regards to hiking Yosemite’s most famous landmark. Daily permits are limited to 300, and getting one will be done by lottery. (At this point it is not clear if a regular wilderness permit will also clear you for a Half Dome ascent.) This hike is well worth the effort, and the cables will not last forever. If you want to bag this peak without technical climbing, I’d recommend rolling the dice and attempting to get a permit.
See you next week!
Good hiking, Ray