Sometime last year, Dax asked me if I’d be interested in joining a small group for a thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. Despite not really knowing what I was getting into it didn’t take long for me to jump at the chance. The John Muir Trail runs from it’s northern terminus in Yosemite National Park to it’s southern terminus at the summit of Mt. Whitney. Knowing the incredible beauty this part of the country holds and never having been to either of those two places or any section in between, I couldn’t think of a better way to see it then all in one trip. It’s the way I’ve seen Joshua Tree, Zion, and Mt. Baldy, San Gorgonio and San Jacinto, with the 8,000 meter challenge, so why not right?

JMT Elevation


Well since then I’ve done more research, studying, and planning then I have since college. Actually, based on my grades this was probably more extensive than anything I did at Pitt. Only knowing that the goal was to complete the trip in 7 days (since changed to 9 after a rather, ummmm, interesting weekend on San Jacinto) we started putting together a rough draft of what the trip would look like. In order to cover the distance per day we would need, our gear had to be light. Since I’d only done about 2 backpacking trips that weren’t considered car camping this meant a huge learning curve and a decent amount of expense on some new gear. Way too many hours on Andrew Skurka’s site  and Googling of the interwebs finally led to some solid gear and food choices…I hope!

Below I’ve laid out the proposed itinerary as well as my gear list for the trip and my meal plan. For the love of whatever you believe in don’t take this as the right way to do a trip like this. Use it as a starting point but duplicating this list for your own purposes would be like asking a first year med student to take that tumor out of your brain. I’m really just hoping this is enough to get me through the 9 day trip and allow me to enjoy it!

If you would like to follow updates of our trip while we are on the trail, starting on Sunday 8/25/13 you can track us here: or check out the Off Road Pursuits twitter page here:

Trip Plan
Day 1: Happy Isles to Rafferty Creek Junction – 25.3 miles
Day 2: Rafferty Creek Junction to Rosalie Lake – 24.8 miles
Day 3: Rosalie Lake to Lake Virginia – 24.5 miles (Resupply at Red’s Meadow*)
Day 4: Lake Virginia to Rose Lake Junction – 24.3 miles
Day 5: Rose Lake Junction to Evolution Lake – 24.3 miles (Resupply at Muir Trail Ranch)
Day 6: Evolution Lake to Palisade Lake – 22.8 miles
Day 7: Palisade Lake to Rae Lakes – 26.4 miles
Day 8: Rae Lakes to Wallace Creek – 24 miles (Resupply at Kearsage Pass*)
Day 9: Wallace Creek to Whitney Portal – 22 miles
*We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone willing to be out there and resupply us at Red’s Meadow and Kearsage Pass. This allows us to carry less food for the 2nd half of the trip and not have to ship as much for the first half.

Gear List
Click the below image to enlarge of click this link JMT Gear List for a pdf version.

A HUGE thanks to Skinfit USA for their awesome apparel that I’ll be using to get through this thing. They make amazing clothing no matter what you like to do outside!

JMT Gear List

Meal Plan


Click the below image to enlarge
Meal Planning