December 21, 2013
I can’t definitively say that seeing the above sign (photo) a few weeks ago during my trip to Yosemite Valley is 100% responsible for planting the seed of obsession about hiking the John Muir Trail next summer, but it certainly did fire my imagination. As I sat in the chill autumn sun eating my lunch after a hard climb up the Mist Trail past Vernal and then Nevada Falls, the JMT sign was just yards behind me, whispering in my ear. Seeing the 215 miles to Mt. Whitney almost seems comical, but people do this adventure every year. As my friends, family and my readers know, Mt. Whitney has become an almost yearly trip for me, but I’ve always opted to approach the summit from the Whitney Portal, above the eastern Sierra town of Lone Pine.
The odd thing is that until last month’s trip, doing the John Muir Trail wasn’t something I gave a lot of thought too. In reading others’ posts on various JMT groups (through Yahoo and Facebook), it appears that many other hikers have held it as a lifelong dream to attempt it. Recently, I’ll admit that I’ve been wanting to try some more challenging adventures. Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) is probably the one peak I’ve longed to climb more than any other, but it doesn’t quite fit my budget. So as I write this, on the eve of the winter solstice and with Christmas and the New Year following soon after, I’ve committed myself to the John Muir Trail next August. I’ve already begun training hikes with my loaded backpack, working out the logistics and exploring gear that I’ll need. Be assured, that between now and mid-summer 2014, you’ll see many more blogposts centered around my newest obsession.