(Vermillion Valley Resort), where we scrubbed off 7 days of stink, and
were surprised to find a wifi signal. We will be posting several posts
shortly with an overview of the last week, but before we do that, we
wanted to give you an overview of the JMT (John Muir Trail), so you
have a good idea of some of the things we're discussing.
First, the JMT is probably some of the prettiest land you'll ever see,
but with all that beauty, there is a price. After 800 miles of hiking,
the JMT makes me feel out of shape. It is hard terrain.
The JMT is composed of 8 passes, which is a low point between two
mountains (low being around 11,000 to 13,000 feet), and the river
valleys between the passes. So you go up and then you go down - over
and over again.
Generally, going over a pass consists of a long slog uphill, then as
more snow is on the ground, you lose the trail and begin to follow
footsteps in the snow. Soon you find the trail, only to lose it again
over and over. Eventually, you're scrambling over rocks in a direct
line towards switchbacks you think are up there somewhere. If you're
really lucky, some of the switchbacks will be covered in snow and your
faith in God grows stronger as you cross the snow on which you mustn't
slip lest you drop several hundred feet to your mother's greatest fear.
The last breathless stretch is usually snow free, except for Muir Pass
which we'll cover later, and you crest the hill with elation and
depression because, hey, let's face it, you've still got 10 or 12
miles to go.
Coming down the other side you start in lots of snow, follow footsteps
until you hit rocks, keep looking far down for a glimpse of trail and
slip your way through snow and mud until the trail becomes solid
around 10,000 feet.
That about covers it. Enjoy the show!