Backpacking the John Muir Trail exceeded my imaginings. The 13 day itinerary provided a requisite physical challenge. The Sierra, their changing landscape north to south, are spectacular; 13 days aren’t nearly enough to take it all in. But people were what set this hike apart from all others.
This trip, with this schedule, is about the right degree of physical challenge, and words are insufficient to describe the physical beauty and impact the Sierra have on my very being. These facts alone make for a great trip, but it’s been the many people I’ve met, the many chance relationships, that set this hike apart, that have made it rewarding beyond rewarding. I am truly blessed.
I am, more often than not, a solitary hiker withdrawing for a time into my head introspect; sorting life and discarding baggage, speaking to God, seeking and finding spiritual renewal; an introvert, needing and taking time alone to recharge.
Yes so and not so this John Muir Trail thru-hike.
It was unexpectedly and delightfully a social experience. From the very start I found friendship, unlooked for and unexpected, and gave friendship in return. And while I had ample time for solitary introspection and while I had my time with God, the friendships, the companionship energized. The friendships, the companionship renewed.
I drew energy from the people I met and hiked with. God blessed me through these wonderful people, and I believe He blessed each through me. Kindred, care and concern for and enjoyment of one another, sharing love of the trail and the Sierra in particular.
Tonight a full moon rises. One month ago I hiked Mt Whitney by this light and from atop watched the dawn of a new day. The new day, an apt metaphor; I am not the same. I suspect none of us are the same.
Not a day passes I don’t think of this hike, I don’t think of the people who so generously shared this bit of life with me. This trail, these people are part of me.
At 13 the John Muir Trail was just a dream. Tonight I dream of hiking it again.
back to the beginning: John Muir Trail – 2009