John Muir Trail: Day to Day Plan

The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
― John Muir

— What to Expect in This Post —

  1.  Trail Talk – A little background of day-to-day plans and what might change it
  2.  Day to Day Plan A – The plan if Yosemite Valley opens by our start date of August 8, 2018 (Ferguson Fire we may need to go to Plan B)
  3.  Day to Day Plan B – The plan if our trailhead is not accessible
  4.  Resupply Points – Just a quick excerpt on where we will be resupplying depending on our routes
  5.  Other Day to Day Plans – These are some of the day-to-day plans I was reading about before picking out how we wanted to potentially do it – check them out!
  6.  Locate Us – I have set this up for family and friends to follow along; you’ll be able to see us on a map and how we are doing.
  7.  Guest Artist  – This is actually my sister and she has some products that are available to buy; reason I am adding this here is because she just did artwork of Yosemite. Check her out! @twintedinc on Instagram and Twinted Shop Page.
  8.  Gear Picks – Some gear favorites that I’ll be taking on the trail

— Trail Talk —

So we sent our resupply last week and I just tracked it this morning and the 5 gallon buckets were delivered to the P.O. Box at Florence Lake; this one is for our Muir Trail Ranch resupply. If you are just tuning in, this coming Wednesday August 8th I will be embarking on one of the biggest challenges I have ever done in the outdoors; I will be hiking the trail. I’ve set up a John Muir Trail Page for those of you who would like to follow the whole process.

A couple fires in the area, may put us in a bind and we will have to change our day-to-day plan so I’ve put together quick daily plans if we will be able to start in on the official Happy Isles (HI) Trailhead or have to start out of Tuolumne Meadows. Unfortunately due to the fire near Yosemite Valley, we probably will not be starting on our trailhead reserved.

What does this mean? This means all HI permits are cancelled. What do we do now? Well our plan is to go to Tuolumne Tuesday night and try for permits first thin Wednesday. It isn’t 100%, but the lady on the phone did say they have had no problems with shortage. We weren’t supposed to arrive to Tuolumne Meadows until Friday anyways, so we’ll just try again the next day if we need to. I guess we just have to leave it up to chance at this point; which I am ok with.

Let’s see if we stick to any of the plans below after we finish the trail!

— Day to Day Plan A —

If Yosemite Valley does open we will stick to our original plan of going an average of 11.6 miles per day; of course there will be up and downs, but we have picked out spots that are around that mileage. I have a feeling we won’t stick to these as much depending on the terrain, how we feel, smoke (especially in the beginning of the trail) and the other things that can slow you down 🙂

Day Trail Junction or Landmark Total Miles Day Miles Elevation End Elev + Elev –
1 Happy Isles to Forsythe Trail Jct 8.7 8.7 8,150 4,115 0
2 Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker Camp * ^ 23.9 15.2 8,700 1,700 1,150
3 Lyell Headwaters 34.8 10.9 10,200 1,500 0
4 Ediza Lake Trail ^ ^ 47.6 12.8 9,050 1,450 2,600
5 Red’s Meadow * 57.3 9.7 7,600 850 2,350
6 Purple Lake 70.7 13.4 9,900 2,500 200
7 North Fork of Mono Creek ^ 83.5 12.8 8,900 2,200 3,200
8 Italy Pass Trail 95.5 12 9,250 2,700 2,300
9 Muir Trail Ranch * ^ 106.4 10.9 8,400 1,620 2,470
10 Colby Meadow 118.4 12 9,800 2,000 600
11 Helen Lake ^ 128.7 10.3 11,595 2,650 810
12 Deer Meadow 142.7 14 8,700 700 3,595
13 Bench Lake Trail ^ 156.2 13.5 11,000 4,380 2,080
14 South Fork Trail ^ 166.8 10.6 8,500 1,100 3,600
15 Bubbs Creek Trail ^ 180.1 13.3 9,600 3,480 2,380
16 Shepherd Pass Trail ^ 192.1 12 10,930 3,600 2,270
17 Guitar Lake 205.7 13.6 11,600 1,200 530
18 Mt. Whitney Summit/Outpost Camp 219 13.3 10,600 2,900 3,900
19 Whitney Portal (we may finish Saturday) 222.4 2.4 8,360 0 2,240
  •  * = Resupply
  •  ^ = Pass we need to climb

— Day to Day Plan B —

So worst case, Yosemite Valley is still close and we will begin out of Tuolumne Meadows. This was a last-minute put together plan that I for sure know we will butcher out there. I just tried to keep the mileage to where we can potentially have a little more time to ourselves here and there.

Day Trail Junction or Landmark Total Miles Day Miles Elevation End Elev + Elev –
1 Tuolumne Meadows to Lyell Headwaters 10.9 10.9 10,200 1,500 0
2 Garnet Lake ^ 20.8 9.9 9,680 1,450 1,970
3 Red’s Meadow * ^ 33.4 12.6 7,600 900 2,980
4 Duck Creek 44.4 11 10,100 2,500 0
5 Goodale Pass Trail 54.4 10 10,300 1,600 1,400
6 Bear Ridge ^ 67.2 12.8 9,950 2,850 3,200
7 Muir Trail Ranch * ^ 82.5 15.3 8,400 2,070 3,620
8 Evolution Meadow 91.5 9 9,200 1,400 600
9 Evolution Creek 101.6 10.1 10,400 1,650 450
10 LeConte Ranger Station ^ 111.1 9.5 8,700 1,555 3,255
11 Palisades Lakes 121.8 10.7 10,650 2,650 700
12 Lake Marjorie ^ 133.8 12 11,200 2,630 2,080
13 South Fork Trail ^ 142.9 9.1 8,500 900 3,600
14 Kearsarge Pass Trail ^ 154 11.1 10,800 3,480 1,180
15 Forester Pass ^ 163.2 9.2 13,200 3,600 1,200
16 Wallace Creek 175.2 12 10,400 0 2,800
17 Guitar Lake 181.8 6.6 11,600 1,200 0
18 Whitney Portal 198.5 16.7 8,360 2,900 6,140
  • * = Resupply
  •  ^ = Pass we need to climb

— Resupply Points —

The following are the resupplies we will be doing for the trail. The only difference between Plan A and B is that we might start from Tuolumne Meadows, so no need for us to drop off the 3 day resupply there we’ll just pack that in our packs instead of the 2 day that was for Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows.

Resupply Point Distance miles from Happy Isles Distance off trail Distance miles from Whitney Portal
Tuolumne Meadows Post Office 22 miles .75 miles 199 miles
Red’s Meadow Resort 60 miles .5 miles 161 miles
Vermillion Valley Resort 88 miles 5 miles 133 miles
Muir Trail Ranch 111 miles 1.5 miles 111 miles

*Elizabeth Wenk’s John Muir Trail Book has all the resupply points available in case you need food or supplies earlier. We are writing some of these down, but it’s pretty easy to find these on the John Muir Trail Map Pack.

  1. Tuolumne Meadows Post Office (3 day resupply)
  2. Red’s Meadow Resort (4 day resupply)
  3. Muir Trail Ranch (9-10 day resupply)

This Saturday before we leave, we will head up into Mammoth Lakes and spend a couple of days there relaxing. We will go ahead and drop off our Red’s Meadow Resort resupply that weekend. See more on my resupply plans on my last post: John Muir Trail: Resupply Time.

— Other Day to Day Plans —

Before picking our day to days I read a lot about how people set theirs up; there is literally no right and wrong way. Do your own trail; so I’m pretty sure even though we have our goals written down, doesn’t mean we’ll follow it exactly. Here are some good reads on how other people did their mileage on the JMT.

— Locate Us —

During our hike you may wonder how we are doing; well I’ve set up a page that you can locate us on a map and see where we are on the trail. We use the Garmin In Reach Explorer + that you can buy on either REI or Amazon.

outdoor gear

Locate Us

— Guest Artist —

My sister and I have been working a new company (Twinted Inc.) that showcases her art that she then turns into a product all on her own. Her latest project has come just in time for when I start the journey on the John Muir Trail. In order Picture 1 is a photo we took years back in the winter time, Picture 2 is a photo of her pencil drawing, Picture 3 is the drawing put to life after her retracing it on the computer.

If you are interested in buying “yosemite down below” please let me know or click on Twinted Inc’s Shop and purchase your desired apparel. Please Contact Twinted if you would like to talk further on your own custom design.

— Gear Picks —

  1.  Tent Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 3 Person Backpacking Tent: We’re going to test this out on the trail and let you know how we liked it. Two of us and it should fit all our gear; already liking how lightweight it is and the space! Also, put it up in our backyard last week and it was very easy to put up.
  2.  Sleeping Bag North Face Unisex Cat’s Meow: I’ve had this for over 5 years. The link is something similar to the one I have as it weighs just about 2.2 lbs. 20 degree bag should be enough for the John Muir Trail.
  3.  Sleeping Pad Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralight Foam Backpacking Mattress– : Last couple of hikes we’ve been using this without the blow up and honestly it’s very comfortable. We’ll see after 19 days on the trail. You can also use it outside the tent while you are cooking or to lay on a rock outside the tent when you are resting.
  4.  Pillow Sea To Summit Aeros Pillow Premium– : I swear by this pillow. Ever since I got it, I have used it on every trip even took it to Switzerland on one of our hut to hut trips.

— Check Out My John Muir Trail and Blog Updates —

— Check Out What’s in My Backpack —

— Check Out Some Grub Ideas for the Trail —

— Follow @beyondlimitsonfoot on Instagram —


John Muir Trail: Resupply Time

The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
― John Muir

— Trail Talk —

It’s been 5 years since I’ve put in for permits to go in August for the John Muir Trail. This summer I am embarking on one of the biggest challenges I have ever done in the outdoors; I will be hiking the trail. I’ve set up a John Muir Trail Page for those of you who would like to follow the whole process.

It’s T -8 days till start date of the John Muir Trail and there are couple logistics problems that may come our way due to the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite. We however did send out our Muir Trail Ranch resupply. We are not going to send the other two because we will actually be dropping off our first two resupplies with the help of family. Even though there are more than 3 resupplies on the trail; we decided to go with only 3. See below our strategy.

One of the problems we may have is not starting in Yosemite Valley; we would actually need to find another trailhead and at that point our permits for the JMT are invalid and we would be considered a walk in permit. Hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does we have a Plan B and will let you know what we did.

— What is a Resupply —

A little background on what re-supply means, for those of you who have never done a thru-hike (I’m in that bucket; longest days I’ve been on the trail was 5). Now what is a thru-hike you may ask?

Thru-hiking means that you are hiking a long-distance trail from one and end to the other in one sitting. Thru-hiking dates back many years as foot travel used to be the way to transport oneself from one place to another. There are many thru-hikes around the world, but in the United States there are three rather known long-distance hiking trails. Appalachian Trail (AT – spans 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT – spans – 2,659 miles from Mexico Border to the Canadian Border on the west coast) and Continental Divide Trail (CDT – spans 3,1000 miles also between Mexico and Canada along the Rocky Mountains). If a person thru-hikes the three of these they will earn the “Triple Crown of Hiking”.

It’s absolutely crazy awesome to see people out there doing these trails; who knows maybe after the John Muir Trail I’ll be inspired to take on a longer hike challenge. As you know these long-distance trails you carry everything on your back; but you don’t carry everything for 3 weeks, 6 months or a year.

Resupply stops are essential to the long-distance traveler; a place where you can rest and rejuvenate and pack up all the belongings you will add to your pack like perhaps food, toiletries, even gear on longer hikes. On the JMT there are several resupply opportunities that I will showcase here below or you can go straight to my John Muir Trail: Resupply Page.

— What to Resupply —

There are so many items that are important to resupply along any thru-hike. I’ve put together a simple list of items that are great to put in your resupply box when you have a stop over. We used a 5 gallon bucket that you can buy at Home Depot and also on Amazon. This is probably the best bucket to send you resupply or drop it off because there is no way for mice or small animals to get into the plastic.

For the JMT:

— Resupply Points —

Resupply Point Distance miles from Happy Isles Distance off trail Distance miles from Whitney Portal
Tuolumne Meadows Post Office 22 miles .75 miles 199 miles
Red’s Meadow Resort 60 miles .5 miles 161 miles
Vermillion Valley Resort 88 miles 5 miles 133 miles
Muir Trail Ranch 111 miles 1.5 miles 111 miles

*Elizabeth Wenk’s John Muir Trail Book has all the resupply points available in case you need food or supplies earlier.

So, how are we going to break it up? It’s simple, I think; no not at all, I’ve never done this before. With the help of a lot of reading and books, came to the conclusion that we will use the following resupply points along the trail. *I’ll have an updated resupply page once we are done with the trail itself.

  1. Tuolomne Meadows Post Office (3 day resupply)
  2. Red’s Meadow Resort (4 day resupply)
  3. Muir Trail Ranch (9-10 day resupply)

The Saturday before we leave, we will head up into Mammoth Lakes and spend a couple of days there relaxing. We will go ahead and drop off our Red’s Meadow Resort resupply that weekend. On either Monday or Tuesday we will head to Yosemite and drop off our Tuolomne Meadows resupply and pick up our permits. We haven’t decided which day, but we do leave on our hike first thing Wednesday morning.

Soon to come is my resupply page with more information on all the resupply points and what we put into our resupplies. It will probably be after my hike as I’d like to update with the experiences during the resupplies. Let me know what you guys did for your resupplies. Look forward to hearing about it.

— Check Out My John Muir Trail and Blog Updates —

— Check Out What’s in My Backpack —

— Check Out Some Grub Ideas for the Trail —

— Follow @beyondlimitsonfoot on Instagram —

10,000 Feet Peaks in Southern California

— New Challenge —

I’ve always been trying to figure out a good challenge to take on. I have a ton of training above 10,000 feet I need to do because I have two major hikes this year including two peaks above 14,000 feet. So, I’ve been trying to think what would be cool training for the hikes that I have planned. What if I hike every single peak in Southern California that is above 10,000 feet? It’s definitely doable, don’t know how long it will take me, but it will be a good challenge that I can keep updating you guys on here on this blog. Have any of you done any of these? I have done only 2 of them Mt. Baldy (Mount San Antonio – twice) and San Jacinto Peak (Cactus to Clouds Hike).

Have any of you guys done all of these or even any? Tell me about your journey!

— Peaks Above 10,000 Feet —

There are 22 peaks in Southern California that are above 10,000 feet.

Rank Peak Name Elevation (ft.) Date Finished My Description
1. San Gorgonio Mountain 11,499
2. Jepson Peak 11,205
3. Bighorn Mountain 11,205
4. Dragon’s Head 10,866
5. Anderson Peak 10,840
6. San Jacinto Peak 10,834 05/08/16 Cactus to Clouds – Palm Springs to Mt. San Jacinto
7. Charlton Peak 10,806
8. San Bernardino East Peak 10,691
9. Shields Peak 10,680
10. Jean Peak 10,670
11. San Bernardino Peak 10,649
12. Alto Diablo 10,563
13. Dobbs Peak 10,510
14. Folly Peak 10,480
15. Miller Peak 10,400
16. Marion Mountain 10,362
17. Grinnell Mountain 10,284
18. Lake Peak 10,161
19. Drury Peak 10,160
20. Little Charlton 10,094
21. Ten Thousand Foot Ridge 10,094
22. Mt. Baldy 10,064 07/23/13 & 11/12/17 Mt. Baldy – Angeles National Forest

— Check Out What’s in My Backpack —

— Check Out Some Grub Ideas for the Trail —

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John Muir Trail: Announcement

The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
― John Muir

— Trail Talk —

It’s been 5 years since I’ve put in for permits to go in August for the John Muir Trail. This summer I am embarking on one of the biggest challenges I have ever done in the outdoors; I will be hiking the trail. I’ve set up a John Muir Trail Page for those of you who would like to follow the whole process.


— Dates —

Start Date: August 8, 2018

Anticipated End Date: August 26, 2018

— Pages —

*Note the Pages below will be updated as our journey to the JMT gets closer.

Page Info
John Muir Trail Page This will be the main page that will hold all the links below as they are updated.
Background Interested in finding out a little more about the John Muir Trail read about it here.
Permits A detailed description of how to get permits for the trail.
Gear List An interesting perspective to what gear I have now, what gear I should drop and my final gear list.
Food Food is an integral part of a thru-hike and planning it out is the best way to make sure you get enough calories per day. Find out how we are making it work
Re-Supplies During the trek, you do not carry all of your food. You will have to make stops to re-supply; find out where to stop and how I did it
Blog Entries All blogs associated with the John Muir Trail will be housed here.
Day to Day Planning There’s many ways you can set up your own plan when doing the JMT. Take the time to figure out what works best for you. I’m set on doing it within 19-21 days. Read more here to see what my day to day plan is.
Follow Along Follow along while ach set up to show where we are at the moment. Follow along and find us on the trail.

— Short Description —

The John Muir Trail is a long-distance trail of 212 miles in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. The lowest point of the trail is in Happy Isles (4,000 feet), Yosemite Valley where we will begin our journey and the highest point and terminus is Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet), the highest point in the contiguous United States. This is the official route; we will be following this route over 19 days ascending just over 46,000 feet (that’s the same amount as summiting Mt. Whitney 5.6 times).

— Read More About the Trail —

Photo Teaser What to Read
Beyond Limits on Foot – John Muir Trail: Background
John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail

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Awarded Top 100 Hiking Blog

— Awarded —

I’d like to announce that I have been hand chosen as one of the Top 100 Hiking Blogs on Feedspot. Feedspot is a content reader for reading all your favorite websites in one place. Thank you to feedspot for taking a chance and taking a look at my blog. Some of the criteria that Feedspot used to rank the blogs are: “Google reputation and Google search ranking, Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts and Feedspot’s editorial and expert review”.

Yes, I am 73rd. I am honored by it too, having a full-time job and trying to keep up with all my posts and hikes are very hard. It’s another full-time job almost and being that I spend most my nights doing some sort of sport (swimming, gym, beach volleyball, biking) and taking weekend trips (traveling, backpacking, fishing), I don’t have much time to update the blog. I have been working very hard this past year to get up to date on all my hikes, working on a new brand image (logo and colors) and adding content that the weekend adventurer may want to read.

See more about my blog below.

— About Feedspot —

Feedspot was designed for the user to throw all of your favorite websites into one place instead of having to jump from page to page. I learned about Feedspot a year ago and decided to use it as well; there are so many things to keep up with and it is nice to be able to hop around on people’s pages. Take a look at their page:

— About My Blog —

I began the blog about 10 years ago, mainly for my family to see my travels and hikes. I didn’t know that it would become an obsession throughout the years that I would later be so involved in the hopes that the reader will take the information and stories I read and enjoy their own adventure that they may take from the ideas.

As some of you may know already, I am an avid backpacker and hiker. I post most of my photos on Instagram @beyondlimitsonfoot; follow me there if you’d like to join in the adventures. I’ve hiked over 1,000 miles since the time I’ve been writing this blog and they are all logged on my website on the Mileage Page. Of course, I have yet to update a few of them, but in due course I will make sure they get up there for you to read.

— My Favorite Hikes —

It is always hard to pick your favorites, but I do have a few that I hold dear because of their difficulty of finishing:

Cactus to Clouds

Mt. Whitney

Grand Canyon

— Gear and Grub —

I’ve put together some lists for the reader to check out what is in my backpack and what kind of food to take on a hike.

What’s in My Backpack?

Trail Food: Grub Ideas for the Trail

— Follow me on Instagram —


Trail Food: Tacos at 10,000 Feet

If you’re not above 10,000 feet and haven’t hiked at least 6 miles to get there then don’t even think about making these awesome tacos!
*Note: Not a lightweight meal

— Trail Food Talk —

No, it wasn’t Taco Tuesday when we decided that we would pack up some ingredients to make some tacos on our backpacking trip over the weekend. It’s all about the food on the trail and the more we go, the better we are getting with our one-night trips at figuring out fun ways to make the food better. Check out my Trail Food: Grub Ideas for the Trail page for more items that I like to take on our backpacking/hiking trips.

The idea came around when we were having a Mountain House backpacking meal: Mountain House Chicken Fajita Bowl 6-Pack. Why not build our own fajita or taco? And so the Tacos at 10,000 feet came to life.

— Recipe —

Serves 3
For the Tacos
4 small tortillas
1/2 tomato
1/2 cup olives
1/2 cup of green onions
2 cups of shredded cheese (ziplock)
2 canned chickens or packet chicken (Valley Fresh Premium White Chicken Cuts)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a small container, be careful with this so it doesn’t get all over your bag)

For the Guacamole
2 big avocados
1/2 tomato
Salt/Pepper/Garlic (I use a GSI Outdoors Spice Missile to put salt, garlic, pepper and Hungarian paprika powder)
Guacamole Mix Packet

— Prepare at Home —

Easiest way to have the least dishes on the trail is to put everything in ziplock bag. You can even use it as the trash bag.
Dice: tomato, olives and green onion (this way you won’t have to do this on the trail)
Open: the canned chicken and place in a ziplock bag.
Place: the tomatoes olives and green onion in a ziplock bag and the shredded cheese in a separate ziplock bag.

— Prepare on the Trail —

1. Mix the 2 avocados and the Guacamole Mix Packet.
2. Add half of the diced tomatoes and mix with guacamole.
2. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Tacos
1. Heat oil in the pan (Sea to Summit X-Pan, 8″, Orange). Use a Jetboil Flash Cooking System – Jetcam or the MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Backpacking and Camping Stove Kit.
2. Once heated, add the chicken from the ziplock or pouch. Using a spoon or spork (Snow Peak Titanium Spork).
3. Once the chicken becomes a little browned, throw in a couple dabs of water, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika powder and mix.
4. Cook chicken until all the water has evaporated. Take pan with chicken off heat.
5. If you want to warm the tortillas up, keep your stove on low and place the tacos above the flames until they are ready to your liking.
6. Make your tacos the way you want them.

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Week 20 – 1000 Mile Challenge

— Thoughts on Week —

Last week again I was sore because we did a 22.4 mile backpacking trip up in the local mountains. I wrote up a quick guide of the hike this week that’s why my Week 20 Update is just going up today. Read about our hike here: Moymer Creek Trail – Falls Creek Trail Loop: San Gorgonio Wilderness.

I could barely walk on Monday, so I took the day off. Still Tuesday I could barely walk, but made myself get mileage in. Being still sore on Thursday I decided to take a little break for a few days and plus i got sick over the weekend. All in all, I still was able to hit just above 18 miles, still under my 21+ mile goal for the week. The challenge has been proven difficult for me so far, but I still feel as though I can complete this challenge!

— Need New Shoes —

My Asics are on their life end, I need new shoes. Looking to you guys for advice. What shoes should I get to run the next 700 miles?

— 100 Miles in 30 Days —

I hit the 200 miles marker on day 108. On that day i decided to challenge myself to get to 100 miles in 30 days. On day 137, 1 day before the 30 days were up I hit the 100 miles. See my Daily Log Page for my 1000 Miles Challenge in 2018. I found it hard because I took a lot of zero days; I must try to at least get a couple miles in instead of zero days in order to keep myself moving.

— Goals Last Week —

1. Hit 30 miles on Week 20 – this definitely did not happen. I should try to get more 30 mile weeks, but it’s hard when I have stuff planned on the weekends
2. Hit 100 miles in May – Still on track for this. I have 62.21 for May so far
3. Get two double days in – Only got 1 double day in
4. Run once on the weekend – I caught a cold on the weekend, so decided to rest

— Goals This Week —

This is a tough one because of the labor day weekend and we go camping. Friday-Monday are shot and will probably be either just hiking and fishing days.
1. Hit 21+ miles on Week 21
2. Hit 100 miles in May
3. Get one double day in

— Stats —

This Week: 30.57 miles
Last Week: 18.39 miles
Avg min/mile: 12:14
Miles Left: 699.74 miles

Date Mileage Ran Total Mileage Mileage Left
5/17 3..12 300.26 699.74
5/16 5.12 297.14 702.86
5/16 2.75 292.02 707.98
5/15 7.4 289.27 710.73

Follow more on my journey to 1,000 miles: 1000 Miles Running Challenge Page.

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Momyer Creek Trail – Falls Creek Trail Loop: San Gorgonio Wilderness

First day we ascended 1 mile vertical; make sure you train before doing this. The trail is in the San Gorgonio Wilderness; the area is a rare treasure only 75 miles away from congested Los Angeles.

Location Mileage Elevation Gain Type
San Gorgonio Wilderness
22.4 miles
6,530 feet

— What’s in this Guide —

1. Background – If you’re interested in a little history, some fun facts, trailhead info, map of hike, water sources (important to know for this hike).
2. Itinerary Options – Some ideas following 1-3 day options for you to choose from.
3. Trail Camps – The quick run down of where you can stay the night; I recommend staying close to a water source.
4. Weather – Always important to check the weather before you head out.
5. Permits and Passes – This section includes how to put in for a permit and the need for different passes. *Permit is required to hike in this area.
6. Directions – how to get to the trailhead.
7. Maps, Books and Gear Recommendations – A source for important maps that you should take on a hike, reading material before the hike and some recommendations on gear items that would be great for the hike.
8. Hike Stats – Quick overview of the mileage and elevation for points of interest on the hike.
9. Description – My favorite part is the recollection of the hike and the awesome pictures that I can share with you guys. Be sure to check out my rambling and photographs in this section.

— Background —

Did you know that the word Momyer means more up? Of course you didn’t because it doesn’t mean that, but this loop is definitely more up all the way. Momyer Creek Trail is actually named after Joe Momyer, a retired San Bernardino postal superintendent and also a founder of the “Defenders of the San Gorgonio Wilderness” group. The word is that contractors wanted to make San Gorgonio area a ski resort. He amongst other advocates of the preservation were contributors to a new Wilderness Act that hits the spot of for those hikers who care. “Secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of Wilderness… an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Thus the San Gorgonio Wilderness was born.

— Trailhead Info —

Momyer Creek Trail
Just like the website states this is one of the most underused trails. We ran into only 7 people during the entire two days. This is the route we took to do the 22+ mile loop for training. The trail is quite steep and not to be taken lightly, make sure you train before heading out on this trail. First water source on this trail is Alger Creek Camp about 3.7 miles in; but if you are doing the loop don’t expect any water until 8 miles in.

— Map of Hike —

— Water Sources —

High Meadow Springs is one of many natural springs in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area. “A spring is any natural situation where water flows from an aquifer to the Earth’s surface” and in this case, High Meadow Springs was our reliable source of water. Sgwa Water Sources: Here is a list of water sources in the area.
Notable water sources for this hike:

  • Trail Fork Springs: This is more than 8 miles into the journey, so be sure to have enough water until then. If you don’t need water just yet, High Meadow Springs Is just about 3 more miles away and you don’t have to take the downhill to Trail Fork Springs and stay on the higher route on the San Bernardino Peak Divide Trail.
  • High Meadow Springs: The springs are a bit downhill from the camp area, but a year-round spring and quite the view as the sun is setting.
  • Plummer Crossing: There are two places here one did not have any water, find the crossing where the water from High Meadow Springs. This was one of the better creek crossings and the water was perfect cold. We filled up our bladders here.
  • After Saxton Camp Spring: There is a small spring after passing Saxton Camp; there was barely any water here (May 2018).
  • Dobbs Camp: This is not on the trail and a bit out of the way, but does have a water source.
  • Alger Creek Camp: This is one of the most reliable sources of water on the trail unless it is a high drought year. There was plenty of water during our hike (May 2018)

— Itinerary Options —

One Day
Do not attempt this in one day unless you are in very good hiking shape and take your essential gear for the day and in case of emergency.

  • Hike ~22.4 miles; ~6,350′ elevation gain the whole loops

Two Day
This is what we did! The first day was very tough and the second day was even tougher.

  • Day 1 – Hike ~12 miles; ~5,600′ elevation gain from Momyer Creek Trail to High Meadow Springs
  • Day 2 – Hike ~10 miles; ~850′ elevation gain from High Meadow Springs to Momyer Creek Trailhead via Falls Creek Trail

Three Day

  • Day 1 – Hike ~8 miles; ~5,100′ elevation gain from Momyer Creek Trail to Trail Fork Springs
  • Day 2 – Hike ~8.5 miles; ~750′ elevation gain from Trail Fork Springs to Dobbs Creek Camp
  • Day 3 – Hike ~5.9 miles; ~700′ elevation gain from Dobbs Creek Camp to Momyer Creek Trailhead

*There’s many camp spots along the trail that you can pick.

— Trail Camps —

Most of the campsites along this trail are marked high above on a tree and easy to find except for High Meadow Springs Camp.

  • Trail Fork Springs Camp – ~8 miles
  • Anderson Flat Camp – ~9.8 miles
  • Shields Flat Camp – ~ 10.3 miles
  • High Meadow Springs Camp – ~11.7 miles (Where we stayed!)
  • Red Rock Flat Camp – ~12.2 miles
  • Saxton Camp – ~14.7 miles
  • Dobbs Camp – ~16.5 miles
  • Alger Creek Camp – ~18.7 miles

— Weather —

The weather can change at any time in the mountains, be sure to prepare. This area is known to get very hot in the summertime; hike early to minimize impact of any heat illness.
Forest Falls – Elevation 5,643 feet
Anderson Peak – Elevation 10,840 feet

— Permits and Passes —

— Backcountry Permit —

Day Hikes: You are not required to have a wilderness permit for a day high, but they are highly recommended for your safety. Be sure to leave your itinerary with your family as well in case anything happens.

Backcountry Permit is required to hike overnight in the San Bernardino National Forest. To obtain a permit you can obtain it in person at the Mill Creek Ranger Station and the Big Bear Discover Center. The other option is to mail or fax the Wilderness Permit Request up to 90 days in advance. Just like most trails in there is an overnight quote, so planning ahead is advised.

  1. Fill out the Day Hike or Overnight Hike Permit Request Form. *Allow up to a minimum of 5 business days to process the request.
  2. Submit the form by either: *I recommend emailing it, quickest and easiest
    • faxing it to (909) 794-1125
    • emailing it to
    • mailing it to: Millcreek Ranger Station, Attention Front Desk, 34701 Mill Creek Road, Mentone, CA 92359

There is no fee to put in an application.

— National Forest Adventure Pass —

To park at Momyer Trailhead you do not need an adventure pass. If you park at Forest Falls or Vivian Creek you will need an adventure pass. To obtain an Adventure pass find the closest Forest Service location or go to a major sporting goods store. The fees are either daily ($5 per day) or annual ($30). If you’d like to know more about the pass, read on the USDA Forest Service Recreation Passes & permits Website.

— Directions —

Moymer Creek Trailhead
Address: 40560 Valley of the Falls Dr, Forest Falls, CA 92339
From Los Angeles, take I-10 E. After passing I-215, drive 7.8 miles and exit onto University St (exit 80). Turn left onto N University St. Drive 1 mile and turn right onto E Lugonia Ave. Continue on CA-38 E/Mill Creek Rd for 9.4 miles take a slight right onto Valley of the Falls Dr towards Forest Falls. Drive 2.8 miles and the destination will be on the left a dirt parking lot. If you reached the entrance to the Falls Picnic Area you have driven too far.

— Maps, Books & Gear Recommendations —

— Maps —

1. Trail map of the San Gorgonio Wilderness: Waterproof, synthetic paper – My favorite type of maps are the Tom Harrison Maps. This is the perfect one for this hike.
2. Caltopo Momyer Creek Trail – Falls Creek Trail Loop – This is a map I created on CalTopo of the exact route that we took. I also have a photo of it attached above.
3. San Bernardino Mountain Trails: 100 Hikes in Southern California – A book about other hikes in the San Bernardino Mountains. I usually look here, then go online and then plan the hike.

— Some Gear Recommendations —

1. Patagonia Trucker Hat – The area is known to be sunny most of the year, be sure to take a hat to cover your head and face. Don’t forget that sunscreen either.
2. LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System – A water purification system is very important and ever since we got this one, I have not been happier. We can grab over 6 liters of water, hang this up having it pour into our bladders and completely forget about it. But don’t forget about it, because of course it will overflow – it takes time but it’s perfect if you gather the water and then set up camp while it fills up your bladder.
3. Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Pole – I recommend hiking poles on this hike because it is very brutal uphill and downhill. I relied on them to give me support on the downhill for my knees and to help me get a rhythm on the uphill portion.
4. Honey Stinger Organic Waffle – Best snack in the world; I had a banana with it for breakfast what a good mix before we started out on our way.
5. GU Energy Hydration Electrolyte Drink Tablets – Add these to your bladder before you go; gives you a boost of energy and keeps you hydrated throughout the day.

— Hike Stats —

Point of Interest Mileage Elevation
Momyer Creek Trailhead 0 miles 5,440 feet
San Bernardino Peak turn-off 2.9 miles 7.010 feet
San Bernardino Peak Trail 7.1 miles 10,250 feet
Trail Fork Spring Junction 7.9 miles 10,580 feet
Anderson Flat Camp 9.8 miles 10,560 feet
Shields Flat Camp 10.3 miles 10,320 feet
High Meadow Springs Camp 11.7 miles 10,320 feet
Red Rock Flat Camp 12.2 miles 10,080 feet
Dollar Lake Saddle *No Camping 12.4 miles 10,000 feet
Saxton Camp 14.7 miles 8,560 feet
Dobbs Camp turn-off 16.4 miles 7,250 feet
Alger Creek Camp 18.6 miles 7,040 feet
San Bernardino Peak turn-off 19.5 miles 7,010 feet
Momyer Creek Trailhead 22.4 miles 5,440 feet

— Description —

I’ve wanted to do a hike in the San Gorgonio Wilderness for some time; the plan was to make this more of a training hike instead of summiting any of the local 10,000+ peaks. I mapped out the hike on the Tom Harrison Map and decided we would do a loop hike that would require us to hike about 1 mile vertical gain in the first day and same back down the next. We woke up at 5:00am, we had already packed the backpacks and food the night before made some coffee and we were on our way just before 6:30am. Took us about an hour and 30 minutes to get to the trailhead, with a short pit stop for some chap stick (forgot it at home) and cornuts (wanted a salty snack for the trail).

There were only a couple cars parked, which meant this was going to be nice quiet hike, even though normally a lot of the Los Angeles Mountains are not as inviting because of the crowds. From the parking lot you have to head down into the riverbed and cross the river. There are some safe spots, we found a log to go over; again check for safety as at different times of year will be difficult to cross as easy.

The first portion of the trail was very rocky; almost like the river roared through this area once. First couple miles till you hit the junction to turn up towards San Bernardino Peak are are a gradual up; at least that’s what if felt like on the way up. We climbed about 1500 feet the first 3 miles; at the junction (around 2.9 miles) turn left towards San Bernardino Peak. I was having trouble on this portion of the trail all the way up to 10000 feet because my legs were tired from running all week and playing beach volleyball the night before.

Tough switchbacks, ton of bushwacking and after many breaks we didn’t reach the height of our ascent until 1:30pm. It felt like forever, but I was so happy that we were done with the up portion. My legs were jelly and I couldn’t wait to get to our campspot. We checked our water and it looked like we had enough till we reached High Meadow Springs Camp.

This is the hill where High Meadow Springs was. The view was absolutely gorgeous especially as the sun was setting. My favorite time of day is right before the sun sets.

Once we got back to camp, first thing we did was go find the springs to make sure we knew were they were. Thanks to gps and maps it was actually pretty easy to find. There were a few good areas where we collected the water; we used our favorite filter: LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System, High-Volume Gravity-Fed Purifier for Camping and Emergency Preparedness, 5 Liter. We walked back up to camp and while our water filtered into our Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir, 3 Liter we set up camp and everything in our tent for the night.

It was getting quite cold outside, so we decided to get into the tent and cook our Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup from inside the tent. I peered out and quickly got the pot ready to boil; closed the tent doors to keep it warm inside. I could hear it get a little louder so I checked on the water to see if it was boiling. We threw in the couple of packets of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, mixed and waiting for about 5 more minutes. We use a Jetboil and an MSR Cooking set if we are making bigger soups.

The next morning we woke up around 7:30am and started to put everything out into the sun as it got cold overnight and some things were damp. Made a coffee, had half our wrap for the day and filtered the rest of the water we had gotten last night at the springs. We had about 3 liters between the two of us and I was quite sure we were going to pass some water sources along the way down from looking on the map and being that it was early in the year before the summer’s heat dries out our Southern California water sources.

The way down was uncomfortably brutal on the soles of my feet. Took several breaks: one longer break to filter water from the springs and the others were just for our legs to take a break. Even though it was sunny, it wasn’t too hot for us and by the time we descended about 3000 feet we were in the clouds that we saw below. We reached the car around 1:30pm and boy were we happy to get changed into flip flops and grab something to eat.

Note to self: Pack extra water in case as this hike can take a long time.

*Originally hiked on May 13-14, 2018

Week 19 – 1000 Mile Challenge

— Thoughts on Week —

Last week I was so sore from playing volleyball Friday and Saturday I ended up taking both Monday and Tuesday off. This required me to try to hit my goal of 21+ miles within 3 days. Wednesday my run felt very exhausting, but I was able to get 7 miles in to help meet my goal. I knew that Thursday would have to be a double day because Friday night I had volleyball planned. I pushed hard went to run during lunch and ran near my house after work hitting the most mileage I’ve done this year in a day (9.46 miles). Friday, I decided to get at least a short run in during lunch and was able to almost hit 20 miles. This was a tough week to hit that goal.

I spent the weekend backpacking up in San Gorgonio Wilderness; we did 22.4 miles (sucks I can’t count this mileage because it’s hiking, but I’ve added it to my Mileage Page for hikes) and I’ll have that write-up shortly almost finished with the guide for it. I am pretty sure because of being absolutely sore from this hike this week is going to be a very hard week. It’s going to be one of those weeks where I have to keep going, my motto is “Do it for the mountains!” on this journey and getting through the soreness will help when we’re up there. I can’t give up when I’m hiking because then I won’t get anywhere; I can’t give up at home and not run. Push hard, do it for the mountains!

— 100 Miles in 30 Days —

If you have been following, when I got to 200 miles I set a goal of hitting the next 100 miles in 30 days. I’m sitting 81.87 miles in 25 days. I have 5 more days this next coming week to hit the 100 and I believe that I can easily do it this week. We’ll find out won’t we. See my Daily Log Page for my 1000 Miles Challenge in 2018.

— Goals Last Week —

1. Hit 21 miles on Week 19 – didn’t quite hit this goal, but close to it.
2. Hit 100 miles in May – I’m sitting at 53.97 miles; still doing good
3. Get a double day in – got one double day in on Thursday.

— Goals This Week —

1. Hit 30 miles on Week 20
2. Hit 100 miles in May
3. Get two double days in
4. Run once on the weekend

— Stats —

This Week: 19.86 miles
Last Week: 30.57 miles
Avg min/mile: 11:32
Miles Left: 718.13 miles

Date Mileage Ran Total Mileage Mileage Left
5/11 3.4 281.87 718.13
5/10 6.2 278.47 721.53
5/10 3.26 272.27 727.73
5/9 7 269.01 730.99

Follow more on my journey to 1,000 miles: 1000 Miles Running Challenge Page.

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Week 18 – 1000 Mile Challenge

Do it for the mountains!

Somehow last week I found the time to run the most I’ve run in a week this year. I only had 4 days to do it too as Friday and Saturday I played beach volleyball and Sunday was my day off. A challenging week and my body was dead on Sunday; day off was very nice.

I started going to the gym at lunch at least twice a week for that extra 3+ mile; which will help on days that I don’t run as that is the mileage I should be running every day. My beach volleyball game also got better this week and I can say 100% it’s because the legs are getting stronger from running. Still have yet to bring back weights into my regimen.

One of the things I was going to hold myself to is no matter what hitting the 21+ mark even if I have to do it in 3 days. To hit my May 100 mile goal, I have to run 76.04 more miles this month. I will try as hard as I can to hit that goal. I’m going to be going backpacking this weekend, so I don’t have the weekend to catch up on mileage for running at least, but I’ll be adding to my hiking mileage!

Goals Last Week
1. Hit 25 miles on Week 18 – ACHIEVED with 30.57 miles
2. Hit 100 miles in May – Still running towards this goal (76.04 miles left)
3. Run 3 times during lunch this week – Ran twice during lunch
4. Get a weekend run in since I’m home, maybe both days – no run over weekend as I played volleyball both Friday and Saturday.

Goals This Week
1. Hit 21 miles on Week 19
2. Hit 100 miles in May
3. Get a double day in

This Week: 30.57 miles
Last Week: 22.17 miles
Avg min/mile: 11:14
Miles Left: 737.99 miles

Date Mileage Ran Total Mileage Mileage Left
5/3 5.0 262.01 737.99
5/3 3.3 257.01 742.99
5/2 7.15 253.71 746.29
5/1 5.23 246.56 753.44
5/1 3.28 241.33 758.67
4/30 6.61 238.05 761.95

Follow more on my journey to 1,000 miles: 1000 Miles Running Challenge.