All the food drops are complete, my gear is ready and I’m headed for the trailhead. I’m finally going to make it out for the whole JMT after years of trying to cross this one off the bucket list.


I’m planning to cover the JMT in 10 days. Astute readers of this blog will note that this is several days longer than the 7 days I’d initially planned on. I still think 7 days is doable, but I’ve backed off the aggressive schedule to make the trip a little more comfortable and to allow some time to roam around taking pictures. The 10-day schedule will require that I cover a manageable 22 miles per day. That pace also limits the number of multi-pass days.


I’ll leave from Happy Isles in Yosemite National Park early on August 12. My scheduled campsites, with food pick-ups in parentheses, will be:

  1. Rafferty Creek Trail intersection
  2. Gladys Lake
  3. Cascade Valley Trail Junction (food pickup noon at Red’s Meadow Resort)
  4. Marie Lakes
  5. Evolution Lake (noon at Muir Trail Ranch)
  6. Palisade Lake
  7. South Fork Trail (mid-afternoon at Bench Lake)
  8. Center Basin Trail
  9. Guitar Lake
  10. Whitney Portal


I’m taking a modified ultra-light approach. I have my base gear down to a reasonable 18 lbs, which includes a two-pound bear cannister and a few unnecessary luxuries like an 8 oz. pillow. Food (on my heaviest drop day) and water (assuming 2 liters) add another 11 pounds.

That’s where the ultralight approach ends and some heavy modification starts. To make sure I can adequately document the beauty of the Range of Light, I’m bringing about 8 lbs of cameras and electronics (batteries, a solar charger, cords, etc.). We’ll see how quickly I end up regretting that decision.

That’s it for now. See you in 10 days.

At Trail's End
7-Day Alpamayo Circuit Itinerary