(written by Bill)
Back in July of 2010 three generations (grandfather, father’s, and son’s) embarked on a backpacking journey along the John Muir Trail (JMT) in California. Our trail-head was in Yosemite at Happy Isles (~4,000′) and officially ended on top of Mount Whitney (14,496′) 211 miles to the south. Our goal was to complete this journey in just 16 days.
As part of our planning we mailed food, in advance, to three different locations along the route that would be used to restock supplies and drop off garbage. We had a three day supply of food waiting for us at Tuolumne Meadows and again at Reds Meadow. An eight day supply was sent to Muir Trail Ranch (MTR) which was the last location on the trail available for restocking. The hike beyond this point would be the longest stretch of remote wilderness (8 days) and would give us some of the most beautiful and breathtaking views.
Although I could easily write a book about this entire trip, I will pass on just three of our highlights:
1. The winter of 2009/10 dropped a ton of snow on the mountains during the late season making many of the passes (10 total) extremely challenging, not to mention a bit scary.
2. Runoff from the high volume of snow was tremendous and created an unusually high number of water crossings for hikers to deal with every day. Some could be crossed by boulder hopping or using logs, but others were too big and had to be forded (a bit scary as well).
3. Lastly, with all of the water on the ground, we were inundated with hordes of mosquitoes. No matter what time of day, or what our altitude, we had thousands of mosquitoes buzzing and trying to bite us constantly. One of the most precious items we carried in our packs was mosquito spray. It was liquid gold!
I’m happy to say we completed our trek in 16 days, as planned. We each lost 10 pounds or more, gained a great appreciation for “real” food, and became closer to each other as a result of this life changing adventure. As John Muir once wrote; “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”….and we all did!
To learn more about the John Muir Trail click here: http://www.hikejmt.com/
You can see more photo’s of our adventure at: http://www.motionphotographyonline.com/Nature/John-Muir-Trail/25339910_g3SKvM#!i=2083619491&k=DRn3tXg
Note – Since we were hiking in an ultra-lite fashion we carried our point and shoot cameras (hence lower quality). I do believe, however, you will still enjoy seeing some of the magnificent views we experienced in the back-country and high Sierra’s of California.