A New Obsession – The John Muir Trail

December 21, 2013

John Muir Trail signage above Nevada Falls

John Muir Trail signage above Nevada Falls

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.

Mt. Whitney, viewed from Lone Pine

Mt. Whitney, viewed from 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.

Mt. Whitney (2010)

Mt. Whitney (2010)

And a reminder, my book of Mt. Tamalpais/Muir Woods images, ‘Mountain Soul’ is available online at blurb.com. There are coupons available through www.retailmenot.com (15% – 20% off)

Mountain Soul cover

Mountain Soul cover


About victorvolta

I am a freelance photographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the very suburban city of Santa Clara. Education: San Jose State University (class of '84) BA degree in Journalism with concentrations in Photojournalism and English. Favorite Foods: Ribeye steaks and Stan's Doughnuts (separate plates, usually). Favorite Drinks: Strong gourmet coffee and Trader Joe's Blood Orange Italian Soda (separate cups).
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4 Responses to A New Obsession – The John Muir Trail

  1. thomasgable says:

    Fantastic post! I love Mr. Muir! I am hoping to get out to the Sierra this summer and see the place that influenced so much of his work! Found your post extremely enjoyable and love your photographs!

    • victorvolta says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post. I appreciate the kind comments. Yes, Mr. Muir is definitely a patron saint of conservation and nature. I’d hate to think what things would look like had he not had the foresight and conviction that he had. Although I live in the Bay Area, I spend lots of time in the Sierras (snowshoeing and skiing in the winter, hiking the rest of the year). Have a great Christmas & New Year.

  2. Oshnnsun says:

    Maybe I’ll see you out on the trail in August. Cheers!

    • victorvolta says:

      Hope so. I’ll be starting on August 3 from either Happy Isles or Glacier Point in Yosemite. I’m budgeting between 16 & 20 days to finish it. Best of luck. Victor

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