A Few Impressions Of The John Muir Trail In No Real Order

Continued from A Look at My Typical Day of hiking on the John Muir Trail

The JMT is super clean, has no visible trash, and is well maintained (let’s keep it that way, please). Trash used to be an issue in the parks, but a little education goes a long way and patrons now have greater awareness of the environmental impact of litter. I was also impressed by the signage. The signs were so clear that I did not need serious navigation skills for the JMT, though I believe all hikers should possess a map and compass—and the ability to use them.

Etched anodized aluminum signs of the John Muir Trail and Inyo National Forest. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

Etched anodized aluminum signs of the John Muir Trail and Inyo National Forest. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

In my estimation, the quotas that the federal government and the various management bodies have established are perfect. I saw, met, or talked with dozens of people every day on the trail. But I never felt that the trail was crowded. I never found it difficult to find an open and established campsite; thus, I never disturbed a new or vulnerable area. A little regulation, appropriately applied, is a good thing.

Enjoying the Moment on the Trail and in Life

One thing I learned is that the trail will always be there. In the beginning of my trek, I was always looking for the route up ahead of me. Most of us want to know what is ahead, what is next. I finally (though well into my journey) learned to let that go and to focus on what was right in front of me. The trail will be there. Question is, can I cultivate that attitude in my daily life back home?

Inspiration at Trail’s End

I recall that many years ago I had the opportunity to hike the Inca trail to the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru. During those four days and three nights, we visited several well-maintained Incan ruins. Day after day, we would visit these sites and marvel at how they clung to mountainside and wonder at the Incans’ ingenuity with water delivery and sewer systems. By the end of the trek, after seeing a bunch of fantastic sites, I wondered what more Machu Picchu could hold. Boy, was I wrong! Coming over the pass that early morning to see that world wonder at daybreak was truly awe-inspiring.

I felt very much the same way coming into Yosemite Valley at the end of my JMT. I had seen amazing sights every day, every hour, nearly every minute during the last two weeks, but as I trekked down to and around Half Dome, wandered past Nevada Fall, and entered the valley, once again I recognized another awe-inspiring period in my life.

Half Dome, Liberty Cap, and Nevada Fall (left to right) in Yosemite National Park. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

Half Dome, Liberty Cap, and Nevada Fall (left to right) in Yosemite National Park. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

We are so blessed here in these United States, especially so here in California.

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