“As I Was Walking” – The John Muir Trail


Sunrise at Garnet Lake

February 5, 2018

It was just over two years ago that, somewhat fresh from my 220-mile stroll down the John Muir Trail, I started writing a book about my adventure. It was actually two adventures – my first attempt at doing the JMT in 2014 was cut short by injury after completing a bit more than half of the trail; adventure #2 was my return/rematch the following summer (2015). It took me a year to write the first draft and then another year to edit and revise. At present, I’m finalizing the edits and writing a preface and some sidebars. Several months ago, I settled on the title. I also decided that this was going to be a self-published project. It might be a bit ambitious on my part, but in addition to the writing (presently my word count is in the 100,000 range) and photography, I’ll be designing the book myself with Adobe InDesign and offering it for sale on Apple iBooks and Amazon. I’m still working out the logistics and marketing plan. I’ll soon be starting a new blog and a new Instagram account specific to the “As I Was Walking” book with links to my iBooks page and direct ways to purchase.


Red’s Meadow camp

I’ve shared occasional excerpts from my manuscript already, and plan on putting more out on an increased basis – with accompanying photos – as I near my release date, still a few months away. Stay tuned! But for now, here’s another excerpt.



Day 1 – Happy Isles Trailhead


In this excerpt, I’m about to step onto the trail for my rematch, starting out from Yosemite Valley 

Day 1 – Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy Isles Trailhead



            I had the trailhead to myself for the moment. Past hiking experience in Yosemite Valley taught me that the majority of day hikers and the tourist hordes generally didn’t venture out until after 8:00. With no one else around to take a photo of my start, I took an iPhone selfie that showed me hopeful, beaming and relatively clean at the trailhead sign. I tapped my poles twice for luck as I set off and I was once again on the John Muir Trail. As happy as I appeared in the photo, it fell short of conveying my emotions and how ready I was to take flight. I felt as though I could sprint up to Little Yosemite Valley, heal some lepers and cripples along the way, and turn water into wine – or, in my case, gourmet coffee.



Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap – Day 1



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Not Quite an End of Year Gallery – but close

This gallery contains 31 photos.

November 6, 2017 I suppose it’s part of my Catholic upbringing – and the attendant guilt – that makes me feel as though I need to explain my absence from the world of Blog. It’s like going into a confessional, … Continue reading

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The Wildflowers of Mt. Tamalpais

This gallery contains 26 photos.

July 4, 2017 Not that I’m self-important or deluded to the point of thinking my absence from the blogosphere has been noticed by my readers or the mainstream press, but I do apologize for my lack of recent posts. My … Continue reading

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A Year of Photos – 2016

January 15, 2017

Usually these types of blog entries are done closer to the new year, but time got away from me a bit. I’ve also been busy working on my John Muir Trail book. It took me eleven months of nearly daily writing to finish the first draft. Brevity in the written word has never been a strong suit, so editing and a second draft will be a challenge. But I adore the creative process, both in writing and in photography. As for this entry, the biggest challenge was trying to winnow the thousands of images I took in 2016  down to 12.

Rather than putting the images in a gallery, I’ve chosen to put this post into a standard format so I can share more narrative.


Mount Tamalpais State Park

The early part of the year found me out of a job for a few months as the restaurant I worked at for 8 years went belly up. It had been in decline for years so it was really a mercy killing, a blessing. I took full advantage and did lots of hiking and went on road trips to Tahoe, Death Valley and Yosemite.



Death Valley Moon

My favorite trip of the year was a visit to Death Valley after hearing of the incredible “superbloom” of wildflowers. But for all of those wildflower images I took on that trip, this was one of my favorite images of the year, of the moon about to set over my Mesquite Springs camp. But if you really want to see wildflowers, here’s a link to my DV post from last February. The Death Valley Superbloom – A Gallery of Flowers



Lupines, Lake Don Pedro

Another month and another road trip, this time to Yosemite. After four years of drought, we were expecting a visit from the much hyped and ballyhooed El Niño. The water situation improved some, but not to the extent that was forecast. Nevertheless, the wildflowers through the Sierra foothills didn’t disappoint. As I drove up highway 120 at sunrise, I found incredible light filtering through a fog bank with blooms of lupine and fiddlenecks.



Poppies on Mt. Tamalpais

Well, I couldn’t live the life of leisure forever, especially after taking extended vacations in 2014 & 2015 to play around on the John Muir Trail. Another ’25 Days’ Gallery from the John Muir Trail (Landscape Edition) At the end of March, a job at the venerable Tadich Grill fell into my lap. But my weekly hikes continued, as did the incredible blooms of wildflowers all over California.



Cow Parsnip, Muir Woods National Monument

I’ve always loved photographing Cow parsnip, a member of the wild carrot family. The patterns and symmetry are so photogenic. I took this image while walking along Redwood Creek towards Frank Valley camp and the Heather cut-off, one of my favorite springtime walks because of the variety of wildflower blooms. It was a different spring and summer for me since it was the first in many years that didn’t have me training like a maniac for a JMT backpacking trip or Mt. Whitney day hike. Instead many of my weekly hikes were more like extended meanders than death marches.



Wild daisies at Laurel Dell, Mt. Tamalpais




In July, with the Sierra trails clear of snow, I ventured out for an overnight backpack trip into Desolation Wilderness, west of Lake Tahoe. The hard climb into the backcountry in surprising heat was a challenge and had me cramping severely, but it was all forgotten as I witnessed an incredible sunset that evening and sunrise the next morning.



Sierra Nevada

I was able to finagle a handful of consecutive days off from the new job to allow me to do some quality car camping at Red’s Meadow Resort. I’d camped there during my John Muir Trail adventures the two previous summers. Initially, I’d hoped to venture into the backcountry, but I was fighting some knee tendinitis so I instead relaxed and went on day hikes to Rainbow Falls and some other locales.



Rainbow Trail, Taylor Creek

I’m so incredibly fortunate that I live within comfortable driving distance to and from the Sierra, especially the Lake Tahoe area. For years, it’s been my tradition to make a pilgrimage to the Taylor Creek area west of Tahoe to photograph the fall colors and check out the Kokanee salmon swimming up the creek to spawn. This time, I was a bit early for the salmon, but the aspens were in good form and I even saw a bear just moments after taking this image. My Annual Tahoe Area Autumn Color Photo Safari



Rock Spring Trail, Mount Tamalpais

Over the recent years of drought, we (Northern California) had been fooled before by the promise of early season storms. I took this photo on Mt. Tamalpais, looking back toward San Francisco Bay, the afternoon before one of those storms hit. This season, there was no talk of El Niño. We’d had other years when rainy seasons fizzled by January. This time however, storms continued, even to the point where just day ago the drought in Nor Cal was declared over.



Wild mushrooms, Mt. Tamalpais

While April showers bring May flowers, as the saying goes, autumn rains bring November mushrooms. I found these delightful specimens while hiking Rock Spring Trail. My job was made easy by the incredible light shining through the gills and by being able to get a nice low angle. The Wild, Wild Mushrooms of Mt. Tam



Cataract Creek, Mt. Tamalpais

As mentioned, the rains continued into December and into January. Creeks and river, reservoirs and lakes were all gushing, even overflowing. I’m looking forward to venturing back into the wilderness often throughout the year. Best of luck to us all in 2017. After January 21st, we’ll need a lot of angels.

Posted in California State Parks, Death Valley National Park, Desolation Wilderness, John Muir Trail, Lake Tahoe hikes, Mt. Tamalpais, mushrooms, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Wildflowers, Yosemite | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wild, Wild Mushrooms of Mt. Tam

This gallery contains 29 photos.

December 5, 2016 Here in Northern California, after an extended drought that saw some short term relief with a decent rainy season last year, we’re understandably hesitant to become overly giddy about early rains in October and November. But at … Continue reading

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My Annual Tahoe Area Autumn Color Photo Safari

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October 2016 After missing the peak foliage season last year, I more than made up for it during my visit last Thursday and Friday. Up well before dawn and on the road with my large Peets coffee. I witnessed a … Continue reading

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A Year Half Full

This gallery contains 41 photos.

June 27, 2016 My how time flies when I have no John Muir Trail hike to plan for. In both 2014 and last year, as I tracked the months, days and minutes until I hit the trail, it seemed that … Continue reading

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