John Muir Trail Thru Hike 2016

John Muir Trail 2016 ~ 7/19/2016

July 18 – August 18, 2016

Written by ‘Owl’


Day #1: 7/19/16

  • Flight from San Antonio, Texas to Fresno, California
  • Overnight: Upper Pines Campground, Site #3, Yosemite Valley

I had a great flight today arriving in Dallas and then in Fresno, California early. My sweet sweet trail angels came to get me and were smiling as I got off the plane and walked out of the terminal. It was such a welcoming sight as I had waited for this day for over a year and here they were. The story of my amazing trail angels must be told.

My pack made it to Fresno which was a huge blessing as I am also hesitant of checking it as if it is delayed or lost, that one detail could be a trip bummer. We tried to ship my pack about 1.5 weeks before I left but the cost was over $200 just to ship it and we just couldn’t justify that cost. As a result,  the risk of it getting lost was less than the pain we would be caused by paying the $200.

On the way to Yosemite, my sweet trail angels made a stop to REI just so I could buy my fuel for my stove as you can’t fly with fuel. It was also a chance to pick up any last minute items I may have forgotten, but I really didn’t have anything I was missing…if anything I had too much gear! Ha! Then after a beautiful drive, we made it to Yosemite National Park…John Muir’s love…his Range of Light. It was kind of unexpected in that the terrain was soo flat driving towards the park after Fresno, and then boom! We were in the mountains! What struck me was all the people! They were everywhere! I completely understand why they are all drawn to it of course, but man! Bodies going every which way….I instantly had that claustrophobic feeling I often get when around a ton of people and couldn’t wait to get on the trail for my training to begin at higher elevations as I was praying that the people would disappear or at least reduce in numbers.

What a site Half Dome was as soon as we came out of the orange glow of the tunnel! This is what I had been training for the past year…taking time away from our home and family…to trail for this very place! It was almost go time and I was so very ready!

When we drove into Upper Pines Campground, it reminded me of Garner State Park on steroids! Hundreds of campsites right next to each other and at least 3-5 tents on each site. Cars everywhere! It was kinda hard to see the beauty of the pines and the granite protrusions rising above those pines at first due to my brain processing all the noise and activity that surrounded me as I got out of the car pulled into site #3.

When I made my reservation, I purposely made the reservation to be near the entrance but didn’t realize I would be literally right next to the pay phone and the check in kiosk. It was only one night and I was excited to be there nonetheless.

My sweet trail angels helped me get my gear out of the car and there I was with all I would need for the next week or so until my first resupply sitting in my beautiful Osprey pack on the bench of the picnic table. That pack has been with me since the beginning of my adult adventures, purchased in 2009 in preparation for my AT solo section hike and I can’t imagine carrying any other pack on my adventures. It is sad though…she is showing her age. The liner inside is pretty much gone and she has some straps that have seen better days, but I refuse to give up on her. We are a team once again for the next 3 weeks.

With all my gear and bear canister (actually a loner from a fellow hiker, a previous JMT’er), my pack is pretty dang heavy. I started to really analyze for the 50th time this month what I had and what I didn’t need. Being gone almost a month, my menstrual cycle would come eventually and thus I had to carry almost a pound of supplies to be prepared.  I also brought small journals to write in and immediately decided I would give those to my trail angels the next day to keep for me and use my phone to write in, which would get rid of a little weight and space. I had purchased an REI camp chair after Philmont as it was a luxury but weighed less than a pound and was a nice reprieve after long hikes when back at camp.  My intention was to take it at least until the first leg where I will hit the passes and then I would reassess.

Day #1 on this adventure was complete! Can’t wait for Day #2! Read Day #2 Blog entry to find out what happens!

— Owl

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