Daniel's Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project

The Great Spirit Path

Preparation Hikes

My parents and my twin brother will go with me on the John Muir Trail. My stepmom will accompany us the first six days to  Reds Meadow. My brother and my dad will hike the whole JMT with me. In order to prepare, all four of us went on several day hikes with full gear - including a bear canister full of food. Our troop has a series of hikes planned over the year to allow scouts to earn the hiking merit badges. So most of the times we would hike together with Troop 109 from Menlo Park on their 10 milers and the 20 miler. Our packs weighed over 50 pounds when we started out. Over time we whittled our gear list down so that our pack weight is now closer to 4o pounds.

Joseph D. Grant Park

 Our first hike took us to Joseph D. Grant Park near the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. It was a beautiful 10 miler


Our second hike at Sunol took us to "Little Yosemite".



Our troop planned to do the 20 miler all downhill from Castle Rock State Park to Waddel Beach. As you can see in the elevation profile it wasn't all downhill

The waterfalls along Berry Creek were the highlight of the hike

Stinson Beach to Mount Tamalpais

All our hikes had over 2000 feet of climb in them, but usually distributed across many smaller up and downs. This time we wanted to walk up 200o feet in one stretch only going up. So we decided to use the Memorial Day weekend, hike up the Steep Ravine Trail and take the Matt Davis trail down. These are beautiful trails - especially during this time, when the waterfalls along the trail are flowing.

Castle Rock State Park

It was very warm during this hike on June 5  and our troop took a long time to complete it. Seeing all the rock climbers on Goat Rock and at the Castle Rock Falls was inspiring. May be our troop will do some climbing too next year.

Day 0 - Happy Isles to Sunrise Lakes

Of course I wanted to do the complete JMT and start at the Happy Isles trail head. But the Yosemite National Park has a quota system that allows only a certain number of people to leave on a certain day from a certain trail head. When I faxed my application for the Happy Isles trail head at midnight of the first day you could apply the lines were busy for 40 minutes before I got through. A day later I received an email that the quota is full and I couldn't go on any of the three days I had given. I called them and asked what to do. There was an opening for the Sunrise Lakes trailhead and I took it.

To make sure that I still hike the complete JMT and also get some training in high elevation I planned to hike from Sunrise Lakes to Happy Isles from June 12-14, 2010 Although that is really three days, I still call it Day 0

It was a beautiful weekend in Yosemite. We started our 20 mile hike by wading hip deep through the outlet of Tenaya Lake

and hiked the first one and a half days in the snow

up to the top of Clouds Rest.

Hiking down from there  to Happy Isles was almost completely snow free and we enjoyed all the waterfalls at full flow while walking down the Mist Trail.

We hiked roughly 20 miles with with roughly 4800 feet of climb.

My family was a big support for me and I feel prepared to hike next month the whole JMT up to the top of Mount Whitney (and the additional 11 miles down to Whitney portal).




Henry Coe State Park

In two weeks we will go on the JMT. So this was our last preparation hike. We went for the weekend to Henry Coe State Park. It was hot - and I mean hot! hot! hot! The hills didn't offer a lot of shade and we hiked almost 24 miles in the 80s and even low 90s. The hills seemed steeper than usual when we climbed over 5000 ft in the heat. Kelly Lake and Coit Lake were great. Not only could we refill our water, but we went for a swim and fished a little bit.

 For this hike we used for the first time our new SPOT to see how it works. It worked great. You can see where we took breaks - either to enjoy the view (or some shade), to have lunch, fish, swim, geocache, etc. You can have a look hereto see our progress during our hike. In two weeks you will be able to follow on that page our progress on the JMT.