Overview: John Muir Trail – Devils Post Pile to Yosemite Valley

After last years fires in the Sierras smoked us out of our John Muir Trail section hike, we got permits to attempt to do it again this year.  Unfortunately, S could not make it this time and instead a few of my friends (A and E) joined me on the trip.

The schedule was fairly aggressive and it really pushed the hiking team.  While S and I both comfortably hike 15-20 mile days, the other two have never done more than nine miles a day.  We followed as closely to our original itinerary as possible, but having been issued walk-in permits for Half Dome, we accelerated our schedule to meet our permit date.  The number of people on the trail during this time of the year also made it very difficult to find suitable camp sites.

A few quick notes: Yosemite recently changed nearly all of the names throughout the valley, I used an old map and it made it difficult to locate where I was going.

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The Quick and Dirty:
Location: 
John Muir Trail (JMT), between Devils Post Pile to Yosemite National Park
Distance: Approximately 50 miles (+/- a few for Tuolomne Meadows)
Best Time: JMT suggested times (typically August through September)
Duration: Four days (+)
Permits and Restrictions: Permits can be obtained through www.recreation.gov.  Make sure to obtain a fire permit online or at the ranger’s office if you plan on using a stove for cooking. A bear canister is also required for this trail and available for rental at the local ranger station.  Permit pick up at Mammoth Welcome Center (night box options OK).

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Tide Crossing at Olympic Wilderness Area

This post is a part of the series for backpacking at the northern portion of the Olympic Wilderness Area from Ozette ranger station to Shi Shi Beach. We had trouble finding good resources describing the all the high tide crossings between Ozette ranger station and Shi Shi Beach when we planned our backpacking trip and thought it would be useful to document all the crossings in a blog post for future use.

Before I dive into the specific high tide crossing areas, there are some good to know facts regarding high tide crossing throughout this trail outlined below:

  1. Water resistant shoes are very useful throughout this trail as the probability of rain and getting your feet wet during tide crossings are high. I did not bring water resistant shoes on the hike and ended up getting my feet wet during a couple crossings. It wasn’t a huge deal for me since it was a short trip and I always had extra wool socks to change into.
  2. Hiking poles are super useful for boulder crossings. They provide better support and balance as you make your way around the slippery rocks.
  3. A detailed trail map with passable tide heights can be purchased at the WIC in Port Angeles. This is a very user friendly map and it’s important to have this map to understand when the section will be impassable. Since we completely missed Port Angeles on our way to the trail-head, we just took snap shots of the map and referenced it on our phones.

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    Snapshot of a friendly hiker’s tide map

  4. Print out a current month tide table to accompany the trail map. The tide tables can be found HERE. Be sure to print this out to understand when the low and high tides are as they change on a daily basis.
  5. Bring gloves for the overland trails! The ropes are rough and will cut into your hands as you use it to pull yourself up.IMG_20160514_190052.jpg

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Day 1- Ozette Ranger Station to Cape Alava

We caught an early 6AM flight Friday morning from LAX  (the flight ended up being delayed for an hour and a half) and arrived in Seattle at 10:30AM. After picking up our rental car, lunch, water and fuel we headed out to the Ozette Ranger Station. We arrived at Ozette Ranger Station around 4PM only to realize this is a seasonal ranger station and our backpacking permits should have been picked up at the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) in Port Angeles! After reading over the online permit again, I realized it was my oversight. We were relieved to hear from the maintenance worker that the ranger will be coming back to the station later in the afternoon. The ranger finally pulled in at 6PM and was able to sort out our back country permit and lend us a couple bear canisters. IMG_20160513_165206.jpg

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Overview of the North Ozette Coast, Washington

IMG_20160513_195436.jpgA couple weeks ago, Louis and I both had a last minute 4-day weekend and decided we would use it to backpack the North Ozette Coast located within the Olympic Wilderness and National Park area. Similar to the Lost Coast write up, we will break up this trip into several different posts including daily trail reports and tide reports.

Olympic Wilderness Coast is located 4.5 hours west of Seattle. The upper most portion of the coast (Shi Shi Beach) is a part Olympic National Park, while the reminder of the norther coast is a part of Olympic Wilderness area. Our choice of transportation for this trip is taking a flight from LAX to Seattle and renting a car to drive to the coast.  Continue reading

Redwood State and National Park

The drive from Medocino to Redwood State and National Park was about 3.5 hours. We checked out from Glendeven Inn at 11AM and arrived at Kuchel visitor’s center at 3pm. The park ranger gave us some car camping choices and we decided to camp at Elk Prairie campground for the next two nights.  Campsites at the park before Memorial Day weekend can be reserved at a first come first serve basis. Elk Prairie is located within the Redwood State park boundary. Much of the campsites are located underneath old growth redwood trees, camping underneath these old growth trees definitely gave a mystic feel the whole experience. Continue reading