27 Comments

  1. Robin Newcomer
    Robin Newcomer January 10, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Hi Ray, Yosemite Valley is a tolerate-hate kind of thing, isn’t it? I’ve been going to the valley since I was a kid, and now that my husband and I are volunteer campground hosts for June/July in Upper Pines (going on 7 years), we’ve seen people having TOO good of a time. Rules for food storage, fire, maximum people at a site, parking, quiet hours– some special people think those rules aren’t for them, apparently. I’m hiking the JMT NOBO in August solo, and am prepping my psyche now for the trauma I’m pretty certain I’ll feel once I’m on the trail from Nevada Falls to Happy Isles. Hoping I smell bad enough they keep their distance as I fly on by. 🙂 Love your great book, btw! Robin

  2. Bill Hegardt
    Bill Hegardt January 10, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Hi Ray,

    What is it about Purple Lake? Back in 2011, I had a similar experience there with a tent stake & guyline crossing the trail. I think it must be people arriving after dark and not knowing where they are in relation to the trail – or perhaps they just don’t care.

    – Bill

  3. Kathy
    Kathy January 10, 2017 at 7:30 am

    A guylie across the trail? That is insane. I doubt I would be able to keep my mouth shut about that. BTW – I am not a fan of the valley in August either. Basically, the whole summer. Amazing the amount of people who just use camping as an excuse to get drunk, and trails as a reason to talk on their cell phones.

  4. Peter Hirst
    Peter Hirst January 10, 2017 at 7:48 am

    5. Agree completely on the experience: that’s why I love to start there. The feeling of getting the hell out of Dodge is a great motivator for that first stretch of real acclimatizing above LYV. Also the same reason I would never finish there except as a Zen exercise in detachment from suffering. Or something

    4. I know those guys. They ruined an otherwise perfectly mediocre night fro me at the Lyell Bridge, and I reported them for the Thousand Island stunt. Hope I would not hesitate to cut the line.

    3. Ditto, but I would say a close second is the bottom third, what I call the Spike Lee Dolly Shot: the faster you descend, the faster the Portal Store recedes into the background.

    2. This is why God gave us Tylenol PM, frequent urination, and incredible moonlit cloudy vistas of Valhalla (ok, not JMT, but you get the idea).

    1. I don’t what you are talking about. Somebody needs a Mooseburger and a Sierra Nevada, not necessarily in that order.

  5. Ravi
    Ravi January 10, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I’ve never quite understood why so many people camp at Purple Lake when Virginia Lake is a lot more spacious and has far more proper (LNT) camp sites to choose from. Also, IMO, Virginia Lake is a nicer setting with better views. Perhaps that last climb up is more than a lot of people want to tackle on the first day out of Red’s Meadow but I think it’s worth it.

    I’ve seen some ridiculous things but never a guyline OVER a trail! That’s just insane…

  6. Betsy
    Betsy January 10, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I’d have to add finding toilet paper under a rock. Sort of goes along with #4 on your list. Enough said. And I think I’ll pass on Purple Lake this year for camping – we’re going out Duck Pass so we’ll press on to Virginia Lake – more sites, further apart and such a glorious lake!

    1. Peter Hirst
      Peter Hirst January 10, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Same here, Betsy: I’ll never camp at Purple: some guy fetching water in the dark is always tripping over my guy ropes. Newbies!!

  7. Mark B.
    Mark B. January 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I just finished my JMT hike at the end of September, and that middle stretch coming down from Whitney was the absolute worst part of the trail for me as well. There isn’t a stable or level place to put your foot on that entire stretch – it’s nothing but rocks and granite ledges at odd angles. It was miserable.

    After the euphoria of a sunrise at the top of Whitney, it was already bad enough to have the seemingly interminable exit from the trail. But to have it be some of the worst trail of the entire trip made it that much worse. Luckily the trail evens out after that middle stretch and you can really cruise for the final third.

  8. Dony E.
    Dony E. January 10, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Hi Ray. Really enjoyed your book! I am considering hiking the JMT SOBO leaving Happy Isles around September 5th. Wouldn’t most of the crowds be gone by then with the last big hurrah being Labor Day weekend? Also, would the NPS allow an Ursack in lieu of a bear canister? Thanks!

    1. Mark B.
      Mark B. January 11, 2017 at 3:44 am

      While the huge crowds may be gone, it will still be plenty crowded. I started on Sept 12th this year and the crowds on that weekend were still pretty big. All of the campgrounds were full to capacity and the valley was teeming with cars and crowds. I was happy to get out of the valley and on to the peace of the JMT (which begins the minute you pass the half-dome cutoff).. Crowds during the week should surely be lower after Labor Day, but I wouldn’t expect it to be anything approaching quiet.

      Also, keep in mind that the permit process is very unpredictable. There is a strong chance that you won’t get your desired date, even during the “lower demand” start period of September. It took me almost 3 weeks of submitting permit applications before I got my Sept. 12 start date. Be prepared to begin submitting applications earlier than your ideal date and be flexible on your start.

  9. Karen J.
    Karen J. January 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Ray – I have had that smell problem in my bear canister. Picked up a great tip from someone on BPL – use automatic dish detergent to soak. Smell comes right out completely and totally. I don’t put it in the machine, obviously, just soak it. Of course, that doesn’t help on the last day of the trip! Seal it tight til you get home.

    1. Peter Hirst
      Peter Hirst January 15, 2017 at 6:21 am

      Hard to believe the smell is just from other smells mixing. I wonder if maybe there isnt a little composting going on from residues by the end ot the trip. Maybe just a rinse on the trail would do it. Some use the bearcan to do a load of wash once in a while. Adsorbents might help too: a little loose baking soda, or a charcoal sachet, which would be renewable along the way

  10. Steve
    Steve January 17, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Hey Ray, Jan 17th 2017. Received e-mail conformation JMT thru hike permit for early jul 2017! I’m concerned about the snow pack that early in the season, This will be my third JMT thru hike. I thinking lightweight snow shoes. A lot depends on how the season unfolds. What do think about having to carry snow shoes? Steve

  11. Steve
    Steve January 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Thanks Ray! I plan on brushing up on land navigation skills. I’ll just have to wait and see how season unfolds. I’m open to trying for aug or sept permit! steve

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