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.
Heading up toward Muir Pass at a moderate elevation, the view looking back is not too shabby.
Let’s see; what do we have in this picture? A lake, mountains, snow fields that have lingered into September, a stream flowing from the lake and even some vegetation. 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.
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.
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 JMT has an overabundance of amazing views.
There are too many pretty views of this pretty lake in a pretty setting.
A nearly 180º view to the south from Pinchot Pass
The view ahead (southward) from Mather Pass shows a similar austerity.
Looking south from Pinchot Pass. This is nearly a 180º view.
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.
Finally, we have the inevitable stream flowing down the valley.
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).
Two gems in a brilliant setting
Just one of many high mountain lakes
One of many bowls hosting a lake
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?
This marmot gets to live here. Does it enjoy the view like the hikers do?
Descending into the basin.
With slopes too steep to support vegetation, this “horn” sticks out like a sore thumb.
With a scene that contains mostly dark colors, how can there be so much light? Answer: It’s in the high Sierras.
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
I’m not sure what to make of this scene, but I find it intriguing.
The southern of the Rae Lakes
The southern and northern Rae Lakes
Sometimes words fail. Sigh.
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.
Zion National Park