Having just returned from a 14 day blitz of the John Muir Trail, I'm having a tough time explaining the experience to family and friends. The only way to tell the story is to show you our John Muir Trail photos. Scroll through these photos of the John Muir Trail then check back for more JMT updates.
I had the opportunity to hike from Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park nearly 200 miles to the summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the Continental United States. Carrying a 40-pound backpack over seven mountain passes all over 11,000 feet in elevation causes some sore feet, sore muscles and blisters. This discomfort easily takes a back seat to the amazing experiences, laughs between friends and the solitude of being deep into the wilderness.
At a pace of almost 16 miles per day, we had to get up early and cover some ground. Luckily, we also took time to soak our feet in the rivers, swim in the alpine lakes, watch the deer poke around the streams and to lean against giant Sequoia trees.
For fourteen days we tackled the miles with our only worry being when we should stop for fresh water. Fortunately, the John Muir Trail offers tons of fresh water in streams, rivers and lakes. After a few seconds of using a Steri-pen, I was chugging cool mountain water right out of the streams. We washed ourselves and our clothes in the fresh water and enjoyed the sound of water running over the rocks.
Tight valleys opened way to large open meadows filled with wildflowers. The meadows led to alpine lakes. Above the treeline around the lakes was a rocky trail that led to boulder covered passes and the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Over the pass we'd switchback through talus and scree fields into another valley filled with large lakes, streams and flower-filled meadows. Descending deeper into the valley we be surrounded by tall evergreen or Aspen trees. The marmots and pikas of the high country would give way to deer, squirrels, chipmunks and if we dropped far enough in elevation we'd see lizards crawling on the rocks.
For two weeks we blindly followed the John Muir Trail (JMT) which follows the same path as the popular Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The dusty, sandy, rocky and occasionally muddy trail brought us 200 miles through canyons and valleys and over mountain passes. Over that distance, we never crossed a road or saw any evidence of human life. The isolation from the 'real world' was refreshing.
Along the way, the three participants of the #JMT2013 Muir Miles Project made jokes, sang songs and created memories that will last a lifetime. We teased each other, made inside jokes and helped each other brainstorm ideas to improve our work as social media professionals.
As the trip came to an end we all settled back into our roles in the 'real world'. I'm glad to be back home with my family, friends and co-workers but I'll definitely miss the time I spent in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Check the Sierra Social Hub all week as I'll give more in depth descriptions on the John Muir Trail to help those of you planning your own JMT adventure. I'll also tell you a few more stories from the trail and I'll tell you about the gear we took on the trail and what we wish we'd done differently. We'll also have many more John Muir Trail Photos. For all the information on the Sierra Trading Post Muir Miles Project click here: Muir Miles.
John Muir Trail Photos: Sharing our Adventure
By Andy Hawbaker
July 29, 2013
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