Sierra Nevada & the John Muir Trail


THE HIGH SIERRA, WHICH I HAVE  DEFINED AS the region between the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park and the northern boundary of Yosemite National Park, is the best place in the world for the practice of mountains. By the practice of mountains, I am referring to hiking, cross-country rambling, peak bagging, rock climbing, ice climbing, and ski touring. The High Sierra is the highest mountain range in the contiguous United States, yet the enviable California climate almost guarantees excellent weather for an extended mountain journey.

The High Sierra has an excellent system of trails, and cross-country travel is relatively easy among the alpine meadows, lakes, and talus slopes near timberline. This alpine region has a natural beauty that is unequaled, and the streams and lakes make this area a fishing paradise. It is an unspoiled wilderness, and it is possible to start a hike in the desert of the eastern Sierra and finish the trip among the lush redwood groves on the western slope. Cross-country skiers can find a stable snow­pack during most of the winter, and will enjoy outstanding backcountry skiing over perfect corn snow during the spring. The mountains, crags, and domes of the High Sierra inspire the climber, who will find sound rock among these arêtes, faces, and chimneys.

(Extract from: The High Sierra by R.J. Secor)

 

The Sierra Nevada -John Muir called it the "Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful  of all the mountain chains I have ever seen." For those of us who  come  after him  to write  about  it, that  creates a problem.  We are forever seeking  to  find  a name  that  can trump the  Scottish-born mountaineer and writer. We strive to come  up with a descriptive word or phrase of  our  own  that  carries  the  same power  and  economy  as  his.

Try  the "Mighty Sierra." John  of the  mountains has staked  that  out  as well. The same goes if you try to move from the shining granite of the range's core to its other components. Whether it  is the  "torrid"  foothills,  the  "grandest and  most  beautiful" mixed-conifer  forests,  the  range's meadows  that  he compared  to  "landscape gardens,"  its "glacial-sculptured" granite  valleys, or even the lower but  still inspiring volcanic summits of its northern end "covered with floods of lava," Muir has powerfully described them all.

(Extract from: Crow's Range by David Beesley)



Now that my serious mountain climbing, at age 78, has by necessity become a pursuit of the past, hiking the John Muir Trail each year maintains a continuity with the mountain environment I first came to love 28 years ago. The long distance hiking on the JMT has become very important to me … it’s now my raison d’être each summer, living in the Sierra Nevada.

Peter Tremayne, January 2016


 

 

 

 

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