Friday, November 15, 2013

Resupply Issues

Still wondering how to best deal with the southern half of the JMT.  We plan to stop and resupply at Muir Ranch...then there are no more easy resupply options for the rest of the trip.  There's over a hundred miles between Muir Ranch and our Whitney exit, and I cannot carry 8-10 days worth of food for three people.  If I was going solo, there wouldn't be any problem, but I'm not going solo...and my daughters can't carry 8-10 days worth of food each.  Well, maybe they can, but I don't think they'd enjoy the experience if they did.

There seem to be three options.  One, hire someone to bring your food to you on the trail.  That option is expensive, and it probably requires being very specific with our timing.  Two, we can hike down to the Onion Valley trailhead and hitch a ride to the nearest town.  That option means getting off the trail for a couple of days and walking over 16 extra miles.  Three, we can suck it up, take on some extra weight (with me carrying most of the burden) and attempt to do the rest of the trail in seven days instead of 8-10.  That option probably isn't the safest move, though.  We could always try it, but then do the Onion Valley trailhead thing if we found we couldn't go as fast as we wanted and/or we were running out of food.

I'm fairly certain we'll easily be able to average at least ten miles a day.  The girls are strong hikers and we're used to the steep and rough terrain of the Whites, so I don't anticipate having any problems with the trail itself.  The altitude, however, is a bit of an X factor.  The girls have done well with their high-altitude highpointing thus far, though, so I think we'll be fine with proper acclimatization.  We didn't feel the altitude at all and the girls hiked two and a half miles an hour on our last highpointing trip (Kings Peak in Utah),  hence my optimism.  Still, I don't want to count on being able to handle the southern half without resupply, so I've got a lot of thinking to do.


  1. Adding in the kids to the food weight totals does make things interesting. Maybe you could find a friend to hike that stretch with you and help carry some of the extra food? I know food is a big weight deal when we hike. I can never figure out how to make it work better!

  2. We're going to back the most calories in the smallest/lightest packages we can think of (GORP, PB, etc.). I'll know more about what I can handle weight-wise once we get closer to the trip. I'm going to train in the Whites during the months before we go -- 3000-5000+ elevation gain over snow in the winter, then rocks and roots in the spring/early summer -- with as much food as I can handle in my bear canister. I should know by June what I can and cannot realistically carry. I'll then plan the resupply accordingly (ship a ton of food to Muir Ranch, or bite the bullet and hike out via Onion Valley and hitch to Independence).

  3. Enjoy your blog. Once when I wanted to resupply around Onion Valley I resupplied myself as part of an acclimatization hike before my longer hike. I rented 2 bear canisters from the FS ($10 for the whole summer!), filled one with food and hiked it in almost to Kearsarge Pass, 10 miles RT, IIRC. Before the last little lake I went into some bushes and tucked the bear can into the shade, against some rocks in a flat area, to minimize how far it would roll if it got swatted by a bear. Then when I hiked by, 2 or 3 weeks later, I popped over the pass (from the westside) and swapped out my nearly empty can for the full one. The food was fine, including cheese, and it was a good chance to get rid of my trash and also replenish sunscreen, stove fuel, contact lens solution, etc. If you didn't want to pop over the pass as you went by, you could just hike the can in farther on your acclimatization hike. I don't know if you've been out there but there are places on either side of Kearsarge Pass where you could probably stash a can and find it again without trouble. Then of course after your hike you have to hike back into retrieve the can, which isn't that attractive, but on the whole it worked out pretty well. --Rebecca