Ever since I was brought to Yosemite as a kid, the John Muir Trail has stood as an enticing challenge, a legend, a myth in my heart.
The John Muir Trail begins in Yosemite Valley and ends at the highest point in the United States, Mount Whitney. Every time I would start a hike from the Happy Isles trailhead, I would study the sign showing various destinations and distances on the High Sierra Loop Trail. On the bottom line stood the ultimate challenge: Mount Whitney via John Muir Trail, 211.0 mi.
I never considered actually hiking the entire trail until I worked in Yosemite for two summers in college. At the conclusion of the second summer, I had achieved most of the goals on that sign: Half Dome via Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and Little Yosemite campground; and Clouds Rest via Tenaya Lake. I had hiked the South Rim Trail via the Glacier Point 4-mile trail, and I had hiked to Vogelsang Pass from Tuolumne Meadows. So other than Merced Lake, I had been to all the other destinations on that sign.
I’ve seen some glimpses of the beauty that awaits me if I go; one of them being Thousand-Island Lake:
And I’ve been in Lone Pine on the other end, looking at how foreboding Mt. Whitney looks from Owens Valley:
So as I continue my planning and training, I will stay inspired by the memes of others who have gone before me.