The John Muir Trail

The route we followed was not the John Muir Trail. The John Muir trail runs for 212 miles north south from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney summit in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, and travels primarily along the crest of the Sierra Nevada, encountering no roads or towns. Most people also add the miles it takes to get down to the trailhead at Whitney Portal, making the John Muir trail a total of 221 miles. After Congress passed the National Trails System Act on October 2, 1968, the John Muir Trail was incorporated into a larger trail system known as the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Border along the crest of the western state mountain ranges. There are 307 miles of private land right-of-way easements on the PCT, some easements as narrow as eight feet, and the PCT needs public support encouraging Congress to provide funds for acquisition of wider right-of-ways.

The idea to create a trail that would connect the Sequoia (Kings Canyon) and Yosemite national parks apparently was originated in the early 1900s by Theodore Solomons, an enthusiastic mountaineer and member of the Sierra Club. Much of the preliminary mapping out of the route was done by Solomons and Joseph N. LeConte, son of the famous geology professor of the University of California. The trail itself was established in 1915, when a grant was made by the California State Legislature upon the request of the Sierra Club. Work began in August, 1915, under the supervision of the U. S. Forest Service, to connect together portions of the trail that were already in existence and needed only to be connected together. In 1933 the first guide book for this trail, Starr's Guide to the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Region, written by Walter Starr Jr. , was published by the Sierra Club. The last section of the trail was finished in 1938.

Donna has hiked the John Muir trail twice and Peter has joined her on sections of the trail. On these long hiking trips endless stories are told, and it is rare that someone does not recount the archetypal story of John Muir throwing a coat over his back, grabbing some tea, a loaf of bread and setting out on foot for the Sierra. At some point on the JMT, perhaps as she passed by the rustic stone hut on Muir Pass, inspired by the image of Muir, Donna conceived the idea of walking " a different John Muir Trail, the one Muir took across California." And thus the idea for this trip was born.