I have loved the outdoors for a long time. I have been backpacking and hiking for a long time too. But I have never done anything like the John Muir Trail before. First I want to give a little back ground on the trail. The trail is about 220 miles. We started 20 miles away from the traditional trailhead for ease of getting a permit. The trail starts in Yosemite National Park and ends on the summit of Mount Whitney. It runs through Yosemite then through wilderness area to Kings Canyon National Park and then right into Sequoia National Park. The distance really isn't that far if you think of the miles in terms of driving in a car. Provo Utah is 120 miles from Logan Utah so the trail is a trip there and back. What makes it tough is the terrain. You start at 4,000 feet above sea level and end at 14,497 feet above sea level (the highest point in the lower 48 states). In one shot that is only 10,000 feet gained but the trail goes over ten passes that get higher with each one. The last pass is Forester at 13,200 feet and you start at 8,000 feet. Do that ten times and you have the JMT. The 260 miles were definitely something I have never done before, but as I got into the grove of hiking everyday I could go for many more miles than the JMT. The other part of the trip that was new to me was the length of time I spent out in the wilderness. I have taken many trips in my life but none have ever been longer than seven days so twenty four days was huge. A lot of people we met were doing the trail in 12 to 18 days. I don't know how or why you want to do it so fast. The trail is so beautiful that I felt like I needed more time even with 24 days. Something about being out so long that I didn't expect was how it was going to affect me emotionally and mentally. Being away from the world in pretty much every sense at least for me really cleared my head and put things in order. The time I had to think about pretty much everything seemed endless. It made making some decisions I had been mulling over easier to make. Something that really surprised me was the flood of memories that came back. Things I haven't thought about or remembered in years. I figured that being away from all the distractions of the world your mind and heart have time to focus on the things that are truly important or meaningful to you. I don't think I have ever written in my journal as much as I did on this trip.
We were told multiple times that the trail gets more beautiful every day. I honestly never really believed it at first. The first three days we spent in the main part of Yosemite. We saw a lot of cool things but the views stayed pretty similar so it just didn't seem like things would get much more beautiful. I also became very sick at the end of day two so I don't think I was very excited about what was around me. I have to say now that it really does get better every single day. It is very pretty up to Donohue Pass at the end of Lyel Canyon but after you get over the pass everything after just gets better and better. The stars were just as amazing. I have never seen so many before. The stars you can see when you leave a city are good but nothing near what you see deep in the wilderness. The trip was amazing! I saw so much. I would do it again and would suggest everyone else does it even if you just do parts of it at a time. I took tons of photos so I picked my favorites for this page, I couldn't post all of them. If you want to see more let me know. If you just want to talk about the trip email me.