My mini JMT Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows


After watching the Movie WILD for the second thought I would catch up on my hike blog.

I have wanted to do the John Muir Trail from Toulumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows for ten years now living in Mammoth and driving Packers to and from the trailhead. So this year I was finally going to do it (September 2014) I was going to pickup the YARTS Bus from Juniper Springs Resort bus stop which was the closest spot to my house.  I only had two and half days to do it. I had a lot of out dated gear to todays standards. September was a good time to pick up gear from Mammoth Mountaineering Supply stuff was going on sale for transition of winter. This place is a candy store for gear heads like myself. They sure do pack a lot of toys in this building. They have the goods. I really wanted to update my Bear Cache also that I had for 15 years now. I wanted a smaller lighter one for 2-3 days of food. So I found the Bare Boxer online. Took about a week to receive it.

Bear Cache vs The Bare Boxer

Bear Cache vs The Bare Boxer

Awesome now I have a smaller pack, Merino wool, Western Mountaineering, Down Pants, Jacket, Booties, Sleeping Bag etc. I was packed and ready to catch that YARTS BUS.

The Gear is packed and ready to go.

The Gear is packed and ready to go.

I caught that 6:15 am bus to Tuolumne Meadows I believe it was about an 1 hour bus ride. The permits where already booked so I had to make sure I was on that first bus so I could get to the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center before 8 am. When I got there there where a few people in line already. It was brisk about 28 degrees. Once the doors opened I was in 5th place. I was excited I got a permit and was ready to hike what I thought was going to be about 28 miles.

A happy camper with my wilderness permit.

A happy camper with my wilderness permit.

I was excited I got a permit and was ready to hike what I thought was going to be about 28 miles.

At the start of JMT via Tuolumne Meadows

At the start of JMT via Tuolumne Meadows

As I started to hike I was wowed by a lush meadow and was surprised by the trail being flat. I was thinking ok this isn’t going to be bad. I did watch this movie on Netflix’s called Mile Mile and a Half and I knew I was suppose to have this tough pass called Donahue Pass and I was going to camp just on the other side. I was going to have two night stays and try to be back at work by 3:00 pm. That was my only Idea I had a GPS with the GPX file loaded and a Map.

The start of the trail a nice meadow double track trail.

The start of the trail a nice meadow double track trail.

After hiking not sure how long and how far the valley started to open up I came to an amazing granite rock with a creek running thru it and crossed it with this neat bridge.

A fantastic Bridge crossing a Granite creek.

A fantastic Bridge crossing a Granite creek.

The weather warmed up quick. I was drinking water faster then I expected I took a little break by this pool of water and filled up my Nalgene Bottle.

One of the many pools of water flowing thru granite.

One of the many pools of water flowing thru granite.

Start to get deep in the meadow still rather flat I assumed Donahue Pass was in the distance.

Donohue Pass was in the distance

Donohue Pass was in the distance

As I was getting closer there was a nice kinda deep river that looked to me like nature’s lap pool (ok maybe you had to be a swimmer) with trout swimming around. Donahue Pass was getting closer and it was starting to look like a beautiful monster.

The trail paralleling Natures lap pool

The trail paralleling Natures lap pool

I had reached the start of the pass and yes it started to pitch quickly

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The Pass leveled out for a bit to a nice little lake.

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I had stopped at the lake for bit surprised to see two camps right next to the lake thinking you had to be 100 feet from a lake also looked like those camps where heavily used.

A look back at the lake and starting another steep pitch.

A look back at the lake and starting another steep pitch.

I looked to the distance to see the giant I need to climb.

Looking towards the Eye of the Tiger and thinking Rocky Balboa did not run these many steps

Looking towards the Eye of the Tiger and thinking Rocky Balboa did not run these many steps

I am still climbing thinking to myself why do people do this? This is not fun! My feet are starting to blister. I still have about 20 miles to go yikes.

I reached the top.

I reached the top.

I had reached the top I was hungry I reached in my cache of food and pulled out gummy worms which where heavy but tasted so good I could feel my body sucking up the sugars like a sponge. Looked around caught my breath and looked with amazement what I had just accomplished. There was no one around the sights were amazing. Only a few birds singing and a Marmot begging for my food. Ok this is why we backpack got it, but damn by body and feet hurt. OK not sure where I was going to set up camp but I knew I couldn’t camp here I needed to mush on. I was ready to setup tent take a nature bath and make a dinner.

I found a nice camp off the trail.

I found a nice camp off the trail.

Once I had set up camp off the trail I found a little watering hole to wash up. Then went back to check my heavy food cache. I broke out my heavy pouch off black beans and tortillas and some Tapatio Sauce. As my brother said tapatio sauce will make shit taste good although not willing to try it. After a hearty meal I was ready to read a book and realized I had left it at home so I just laid in my sleeping bag until I was off to Z-land.

3 days food in my Bare Boxer

3 days food in my Bare Boxer

I woke up and had the other half of my beans and tortillas for breakfast and some coffee. I was thinking I had hiked about 18 miles. I should have about 10 miles to go. I didn’t have a book so I was thinking I might get bored at camp so I was going to just hike out the rest of the way. No problem 10 miles and no Donahue Pass.

Back on the trail

Back on the trail

Yellow Bellied Marmot saying hello or wanting food.

Yellow Bellied Marmot saying hello or wanting food.

Back on the trail. I was back in the tree line with mixed granite, boulders, meadows and this marmot to send me off on the trail.

Cute Marmot

Cute Marmot.

Tree crossing

Tree crossing

From Donahue Pass going to Island Pass

From Donahue Pass going to Island Pass

I didn’t do my home work very well I had three passes on this trip and was a little confused on the PCT trail marker.IMG_0043

I supposed it didn’t matter I still had to cross them.

The Pass to Thousand Island Lakes

The Pass to Thousand Island Lakes

I was starting to feel tired but also great that I was closer.

Taking a much needed rest enjoying the view of Mt Banner and Thousand Island Lakes

Taking a much needed rest enjoying the view of Mt Banner and Thousand Island Lakes

I stopped to take in the views and learned that there was a glacier here that fed Thousand Island Lake.

looking at the Southeast Glacier that feeds into Thousand Island Lake.

looking at the Southeast Glacier that feeds into Thousand Island Lake.

An Iconic view great place to enjoy a Cliff Bar and Gummy Bears.

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Another Lake another Break

Another Lake another Break

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I had missed my river trail here and continued on the JMT

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I looked on my GPS to confirm I did indeed miss the river trail after I had climbed another 500 ftIMG_0064

After missing the river trail I was thinking glad I didn’t camp another night I would have been late to work. I looked at the map and I thought damn I am adding another 4-5 miles to the hike.

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I went by the great lake stripped off the cloths and went for a dip.

I went by the great lake stripped off the cloths and went for a dip.

I wasn’t sure where I was going at this point but I would just go with it since I had an Idea where I was at some where between Reds Meadow and Devils Post Pile and knew I just needed to make the 8 pm Reds Meadow Shuttle out.

I think it was called Shadow Lake

I think it was called Shadow Lake

That was what I need a cold refreshing energizer a dip in the water to sooth sore muscles and the Chaff it was better then Red Bull.

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Holy Smokes I came to this step stairway that was carved in to the stone.

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I was so glad at this point from hiking all day I was going down.

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Down Down Down

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I got to the bottom with a nice groomed trail and semi flat thinking awesome I am almost there.

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The trail just kept going and going.

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What another lake.

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OK groovy I want to come out at Agnew Meadows I was smiles with this sign.

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At Last Agnew Meadows

At Last Agnew Meadows

At Last I had made it to Agnew Meadows finally been there done that Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows. I had the time to reflect on this trip while waiting for the Reds Meadow Shuttle. I can now relate to people that come here from all over the world to get the Mini taste of the JMT. The views where differently rewarding although I felt like I didn’t really have the time to enjoy them.

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After plugging my GPS in the Basecamp app I had hiked 36 miles.

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