From July 17 to August 8, 2016 Augie and I hiked the John Muir Trail. The JMT begins in Yosemite National Park from the Happy Isles trailhead and ends on the summit of Mt. Whitney at 14,505'. Over 23 days we covered close to 240 miles of trail in the high sierra backcountry.
Each day on the trail Augie faithfully recorded a journal entry. I had a few cameras. The John Muir Trail Diary is a combination of his writings, my pictures and my annotations. I hope this blog will not only serve as a creative record but convince anyone considering doing something similar to take the plunge.
All italicized text is Augie's writing and I'll add annotations throughout. I brought a DSLR, GoPro, and a Galaxy phone from which you'll see pictures and videos. Many of the phone pictures turned out pretty well and it was often easier to whip out the phone than DSLR, but I shot more with the latter. You can assume all photographs are from my DSLR unless otherwise noted. I also have a trip gallery here which will only be growing.
Now that I've introduced the JMT Diary, I'll share a bit about the days leading up to the hike (Augie's entries start on the first day of hiking).
Date: July 15 - 16, 2016
Location: Richmond, Virginia to San Francisco, California
Our flight from Richmond arrived in San Francisco mid-afternoon on Friday, July 15. We took a few hours to explore the sprawling city before meeting up with our host Cliff. The following morning we would depart for Yosemite National Park.
Cliff showed us a local's perspective of San Francisco - notably through Haight-Ashbury. After grabbing a few beers we walked east up Haight and quickly learned that though surprisingly devoid of hippies at that time, Haight had no shortage of street apothecaries.
20 minutes from the bar I reached down to feel an unusually light pocket. It took an Uber ride back to the bar, an ensuing search of the establishment (including its restrooms) and a frantic four block comb before I was reunited with my wallet. It lay just off the sidewalk with bills peeking out daring each passerby to inspect. Somehow, someway the wallet lay untouched. I received preemptive trail karma and counted my blessings.
We caused a bit of good-natured mischief Friday night with Cliff and his roommates, but I'll leave that on the west coast. The next morning Cliff drove us to the downtown Greyhound station and Augie and I commenced day 2 of traveling.
After two buses and many stops through the valley, we started gaining elevation during the last hour of the ride. The closer you get to Yosemite, the longer you tend to gaze out the window and the late afternoon scenery did not disappoint. Unfortunately I could only take pictures from inside the bus.
We arrived in Yosemite just after sunset. I charged my phone in the food court and scarfed down a sandwich and cold beer before finding the crowded backpackers camp. The camp stays up late and I had trouble falling asleep so I went for a walk and thought about the trail ahead.