Fall 2017: John Muir Trail

The 210-mile long John Muir Trail is one of the premiere hiking trails of the world. It starts in the heart of Yosemite National Park and winds its way through many National Parks, National Forests and wilderness areas, one of which is Kings Canyon. No, I have not hiked the entire JMT. But I did hike a 39-mile section during my trip to Kings Canyon. I’m really proud of most of these pictures, but it’s not due to any skills I have as a photographer. Rather, it is due to the landscape itself and its Maker. I felt it a privilege to walk through this terrain. And as much as I love these pictures, the experience of being there was so much more profound.

From Mather Pass, I look back (to the north), from where I have come.  It is an austere, desloate land.  If you wanted to pick a nice place to settle down and work a farm, it sure wouldn't be here.  But it was a very cool place to visit.
From Mather Pass, I look back (to the north), from where I have come. It is an austere, desloate land. If you wanted to pick a nice place to settle down and work a farm, it sure wouldn’t be here. But it was a very cool place to visit.
At this high mountain location, there is still enough snowmelt to support a significant stream.
At this high mountain location, there is still enough snowmelt to support a significant stream.
There are too many views of this pretty lake
There are too many views of this pretty lake
A nearly 180º view to the south from Pinchot Pass
A nearly 180º view to the south from Pinchot Pass
There are times when words fail.  I think this is one of them.
There are times when words fail. I think this is one of them.
From Mather Pass, I look back (to the north), from where I have come.  It is an austere, desloate land.  If you wanted to pick a nice place to settle down and work a farm, it sure wouldn't be here.  But it was a very cool place to visit.
From Mather Pass, I look back (to the north), from where I have come. It is an austere, desloate land. If you wanted to pick a nice place to settle down and work a farm, it sure wouldn’t be here. But it was a very cool place to visit.
The view ahead (southward) from Mather Pass shows a similar austerity.
The view ahead (southward) from Mather Pass shows a similar austerity.
At this high mountain, there is still enough snowmelt to support a significant stream.
At this high mountain, there is still enough snowmelt to support a significant stream.
A nice morning view of an exquisite lake
A nice morning view of an exquisite lake
Looking south from Pinchot Pass.  This is nearly a 180º view.
Looking south from Pinchot Pass. This is nearly a 180º view.
Let's see; what to we have in this picture?  A lake, mountains, snow fields that have lingered into September, a stream flowing from the lake and even some vegitation.  That's quite a scene.  Havjng reached my cutoff time, I was compelled to turn back and so never reached Muir Pass.  Sob!  It was a good place to get water, though.
Let’s see; what to we have in this picture? A lake, mountains, snow fields that have lingered into September, a stream flowing from the lake and even some vegitation. That’s quite a scene. Havjng reached my cutoff time, I was compelled to turn back and so never reached Muir Pass. Sob! It was a good place to get water, though.
The view to the south from Pinchot Pass.  Two basic mouintain colors.  Two lakes at slightly different elevations and colors.  One awestruck hiker.
The view to the south from Pinchot Pass. Two basic mouintain colors. Two lakes at slightly different elevations and colors. One awestruck hiker.
I can't decide whether I prefer high, low or middle views.  High views are the most spectacular, but middle views, like this one, bring the terrain closer into view.
I can’t decide whether I prefer high, low or middle views. High views are the most spectacular, but middle views, like this one, bring the terrain closer into view.
Here near the tree line, the trees are small and distributed sparsely.  Mather Pass, my high point for the day, still lies hidden in the mountains ahead.
Here near the tree line, the trees are small and distributed sparsely. Mather Pass, my high point for the day, still lies hidden in the mountains ahead.
Finally, we have the inevitable stream flowing down the valley.
Finally, we have the inevitable stream flowing down the valley.
Descending into the basin
Descending into the basin
From inside the basin you can see mountains on all sides.  They are neither near nor far.  Tranquility reigns (for the most part).
From inside the basin you can see mountains on all sides. They are neither near nor far. Tranquility reigns (for the most part).
Two gems in a brilliant setting
Two gems in a brilliant setting
Just one of many high mountain lakes
Just one of many high mountain lakes
One of many bowls hosting a lake
One of many bowls hosting a lake
Early morning light sharpens the features of the mountains
Early morning light sharpens the features of the mountains
Brown, crumbling mountains in the Sierras?  Don't you belong in some other place, such as Death Valley?
Brown, crumbling mountains in the Sierras? Don’t you belong in some other place, such as Death Valley?
This marmot gets to live here.  Does it enjoy the view like the hikers do?
This marmot gets to live here. Does it enjoy the view like the hikers do?
Let's see; what to we have in this picture?  A lake, mountains, snow fields that have lingered into September, a stream flowing from the lake and even some vegitation.  That's quite a scene.  But having reached my cutoff time, I was compelled to turn back and so never reached Muir Pass.  Sob!  It was a good place to get water, though.
Let’s see; what to we have in this picture? A lake, mountains, snow fields that have lingered into September, a stream flowing from the lake and even some vegitation. That’s quite a scene. But having reached my cutoff time, I was compelled to turn back and so never reached Muir Pass. Sob! It was a good place to get water, though.
Heading up toward Muir Pass, the view looking bad is not too shabby.
Heading up toward Muir Pass, the view looking bad is not too shabby.
Descending into the basin
Descending into the basin.
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With slopes too steep to support vegetation, this “horn” sticks out like a sore thumb.
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With a scene that contains mostly dark colors, how can there be so much light? Answer: It’s in the high Sierras.
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Heading north, Glen Pass was a hard climb and a harder descent (for me). Coming back the other way, it was a very tough climb, with everyone moving slowly, and a pleasant descent. In any case, the view at the top was impressive. Agreed?
A little below the pass and looking mostly backward
A little below the pass and looking mostly backward
I'm not sure what to make of this scene, but I find it intriguing.
I’m not sure what to make of this scene, but I find it intriguing.
The southern of the Rae Lakes
The southern of the Rae Lakes
The southern and northern Rae Lakes
The southern and northern Rae Lakes

It has been said that anyone who attempts to describe the Grand Canyon fails. In that vein, I will attempt to describe the JMT. It is the place on earth where those in heaven would like to visit on their vacations.

Next destination: Zion National Park