I have that David Bowie song about traveling in space running through my head today: “Ground control to Major Tom, check ignition and may God’s love be with you…..”. Maybe it is because we are in the countdown to our long hike on the John Muir Trail. You may be asking yourself “what the HIKE”?
WHAT IS THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL?
You can google the John Muir Trail if you really want all the details but here is a summary. The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile trail that travels the backbone of the California mountains. It starts in Yosemite National Park and ends on Mount Whitney. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the lower 48 States at 14,505 feet. The trail is almost entirely above 8,000 feet in alpine wilderness with 35% being above 10,000 feet. The trail takes an average hiker about 3 weeks to hike.
Ray and I are adding at least 110 miles to the 211-mile trail because we have included side diversions and scrambles to hot springs, lakes and peaks. Ray and I both love going off trail and following where our curiosity takes us. I don’t want to lose that by just sticking to a trail. We have given ourselves 30 days to complete this “John Muir Trail Plus” hike.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JOHN MUIR TRAIL AND THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL?
People sometimes get the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail mixed up. The John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail share the same path for about 76% of the length of the John Muir Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is much longer and starts at the Mexican border with California and travels 2,659 miles along the mountain ranges in California, Oregon, and Washington to the border with Canada. The Pacific Crest Trail takes 4 to 6 months to complete.
WHO WAS JOHN MUIR?
John Muir (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, and environmental philosopher. His letters, essays, and books tell of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada of California. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite National Park. He is today referred to as the “Father of the National Parks”. There are many places named after him including the John Muir Trail we will be hiking as well as a 130-mile hike in Scotland called “The John Muir Way”.
The quote I often see attributed to John Muir is “the mountains are calling and I must go”. I’m ready.