Based upon past expereinces we have decided not to have others join the trip after section three .By this time everyone is hitting peak hiking form and we don't like to make the whole group to slow down to accommodate new arrivals.
We will have several food drops so that the packs are not too heavy for each segment and if doing only part of the trip you will go in, or out, with the food drop.
You can expect to cover eight to twelve miles a day. The tentative schedule is as below, but remember that weather, conditions and perhaps issues such as sore feet or a desire for a rest day may well vary this outline. Numbered days refer to significant logistical events during the trip. Due to the difficulties of trying to map out every day of a long journey such as this other days have been omitted from this itinerary. Expect changes to this itinerary!
Section One: Taboose Pass to Bishop Pass
The start of any trip can be tough on the body so while this section involves some strenuous hiking we start off with not too much food in the packs to help us break into the trail easily. This is a very spectacular thorough one of the highest sections of the entire route. From our start in the low desert of the Owens Valley we climb quickly into the high alpine zone of Upper Basin. Briefly following the JMT over Mather Pass we then take a high line below the spectacular west face of the Palisades and drop over Thunderbolt Pass into Dusy Basin where we meet our first food drop.
Day 0: The first night before the actual hiking start of the trip will be spent in Bishop where we will do an equipment check and put together the final items for the trip.
Day One: We drive to Independence and start hiking. Taboose Pass has a reputation for not being easy!
Day Five: Arrive near Bishop Pass and pick up food.
Section Two: Bishop Pass to Rock Creek Canyon
This section spends some time on the trails and the John Muir Trail specifically, but who would want to miss out on the fantastic Evolution area, a vast glacier valley dotted with high alpine lakes. The canyons are deep and the peaks high as we link passes that the JMT carefully avoids. We take a variation here into Little Lakes Valley, which also gives us the opportunity to scramble up Bear Creek Spire along the way.
Day Five: Leave Bishop Pass and drop to a camp in Le Conte canyon.
Day Ten: Cross over Spire Col and drop down to pick up a re-supply near Mosquito Flats in Rock Creek Canyon.
Section Three: Rock Creek to Devils Postpile.
We head along the Mono Pass Trail over Mono Pass and down Golden Creek to regain Roper's route at Second Recess. This section is more spectacular than difficult as we gain the Silver Divide and head on towards the town and ski area of Mammoth.
Day Ten: Leave Rock Creek and camp near Ruby Lake
Day Fourteen: Arrive at Devils Postpile. Here we have the luxury of a hot shower, a restaurant cooked meal and even a beer.
Section Four: Devils Post Pile to Tioga
The highlights of this section are the peaks of Ritter, Banner and the Minarets that dominate the area with their jagged skylines and sharp summits. The terrain changes slowly and becomes more open and expansive.
Day Fifteen: Leave Devils Postpile.
Day Seventeen: Arrive at the Tioga Road.
Section Five: Tioga Road to Twin Lakes.
The trip is slowly winding down and by now you are in fantastic hiking shape and the miles will just flow by. This section stays close to the crest and crosses back and forth over it before dropping to finish at Mono Village near the small town of Bridgeport.
Day Eighteen: Leave Tuolumne Meadows. We may shuttle along the road here to avoid the camping near road regulations and to get away from the camper vans and multitudes of tourists.
Day Twenty: Arrive at Twin Lakes. From here we will shuttle back to Bishop and a soft bed in a local motel.
You need to be in good shape for the trip. This does not mean being a super fit marathoner though. The days will be long and steady. The most important thing is endurance and the ability to deal with whatever happens.
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