I have read many trail journals and blogs. Some choose a nice and easy pace that takes up to 4 weeks. Some UL backpackers will go the distance in just over a week. I am by no means an UL backpacker, and have no desire to run through this experience. On the other hand, the longer you take, the more food you have to carry. I plan on resupplying at every place I can. (Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadow, Vermillion Valley Resort, and Muir Trail Ranch) The idea is to keep my pack as light as possible, especially for the first part when I am still getting acclimated to the altitude.
I have 2 good guide books on the JMT, one is John Muir Trail: The essential guide to hiking America's most famous trail from the Wilderness Press. The other is The John Muir Trail: Through the Californian Sierra Nevada a Cicerone Guide. The latter is written by an English author so It gives some info that is irrelevant to me (i.e., passport and flying into the states), but I like the itinerary that he lays out in the book. I have made some slight modifications to this book's schedule for my own hiking plan.
I am open to changing this itinerary as the trip gets closer, or even on the trail itself. You can't count on everything going according to the way you planned it. My schedule gives me 25 nights, I plan on getting a permit for 27 or 28. This way extra rest days or shorter days can be taken if needed, also I am not opposed to the idea of going farther in a day then planned as well. If I get to a planned site earlier than expected, with plenty of energy I will continue. I look at this a a guideline more then a set schedule.
1/Sunrise Creek/12.3/side trip: Half Dome Summit
2/Sunrise High Sierra Camp/7.6
3/Tuolumne Meadows/11.4/Cathedral Pass and resupply
4/Upper Lyell Canyon/9.5
5/Thousand Island Lake/9.7/Donohue and Island Passes
7/Reds Meadow Resort/10/resupply
11/Vermillion Valley Resort/11.8/Silver Pass on resupply
14/Muir Trail Ranch/9.5/Selden Pass and resupply (final resupply)
16/Unnamed Lake NW of Helen Lake/12.2/Muir Pass
18/South Fork Kings River/12/Mather Pass
19/Woods Creek Bridge/11.6/Pinchot Pass
22/Vidette Meadow/7.6/Glen Pass
23/Tyndall Creek/12/Forester Pass
25/Trail Camp/10/Mt. Whitney and Trail Crest
As I said, this schedule is a guideline and may change up to and during the trip. I was even thinking of changes to make to it while I was typing it out. (i.e., eliminating the Rest day at Rae Lakes due to short milage the day before and after) I will be updating any changes I decide on before the trip here. My goal start date is Wednesday, August 7, 2013. I feel this schedule gives me a nice and easy pace. I want to enjoy the scenery each day and not feel under the gun to make certain times and camps.