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Rlhdancer - John Muir Trail Journal - 2014

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Chris & Becky "Split & Two Step" Haynam
City: Pleasanton
State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Jun 16, 2014
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Jun 8th, 2014
Start: Pleasanton, CA

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 3,092
Journal Visits: 11,835
Guestbook Views: 413
Guestbook Entrys: 9

John Muir Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

Start of the JMT in 2011 at Happy Isles, Yosemite

Third time's a charm

My wife, Two Step, and I, Split, have journeyed the last two summers on two long distance National Scenic Trails. In 2012 we hiked the 2200-mile Appalachian Trail (AT) southbound. We started in Maine on the top of Mt. Katahdin on June 19th, and finished five months later on November 19th on Springer Mountain in Georgia. It was a grand adventure where we saw awesome scenery (occasionally peaking through the forest's green tunnel), endured first rain and heat, and then cold and snow, and met some of the most interesting and enjoyable characters. As we got to know some of these fellow adventurers, we were happy to realize that some had become friends, having shared some of our most memorable experiences. A tangible reflection of a life changing experience.

Last year, in 2013, we embarked on the even longer 2700-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Starting on April 15th, only five months after completing the AT, I was still in need of recuperation from the arduous trail we had just completed, but Two Step was practically jumping out of her skin in anticipation of starting her dream adventure. The beauty and challenge of this trail soon overcame my reluctance, and our trip from the southernmost edge of California, through Oregon and Washington, and finishing in Canada was even more exciting than the AT. Again we had incredible experiences, made friends, and had life changing moments.

Looking back, one of my best decisions during both of these adventures was to keep a journal. After averaging about twelve hours a day of hiking, it was a challenge to find an hour or so to record the day’s events, have Two Step read and edit the text and help select the appropriate pictures, and then eventually find cell signal that would allow me to post the results to this web site. But it was a way to share our experience with our parents, our family, our friends, and a few loyal readers that we picked up along the way (feel free to look at those journals by following the links at the bottom of this page). Now, after being home for over eight months, I have enjoyed rereading each of the posts, and it is clear that as the years go by, the ultimate benefit will be to Two Step and I as these words jog our memories of our excellent adventures.

But before the PCT, before the AT, we started with somewhat more modest hikes. We hiked the 223-mile John Muir Trail in July-August 2009, and again in early July-August 2011. The 2009 trip was the hardest physical journey we had ever undertaken, and we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the National Parks and wilderness areas we encountered along the way. In 2011 we repeated the trail to make sure that we were still up for the really long trail we planned for the next year. But 2011 was a high snow year, and we were confronted with a whole new set of challenges, hiking through snow along about 70% of the trail. We experienced days of postholing, of walking through uneven snow full of suncups, of fording streams and nearly being washed away in the frigid turbulence. Although these experiences are etched into our memories, I did not keep a journal during those trips. Two Step has a hand-written journal, and I have pictures of the trip, but this time I want something a little easier to share, and review in the future.

So the third time’s the charm. We are once again heading out on a long distance backpacking adventure. As with the last two times, we will spend about three weeks hiking southbound on the John Muir Trail. A real treat will be sharing eleven days of the trip with our great friend from the AT, Turtlebox. At the pace we are planning, we should have time to stop and enjoy the scenery, time for long meals and conversation, and time to keep a jounal.

Eight days and counting down,

Split and Two Step

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Journal Photo

Split And Two Step On The John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail passes through a land of 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks, of lakes in the thousands, and of canyons and granite cliffs. It's also a land blessed with the mildest, sunniest climate of any major mountain range in the world. The John Muir Trail is 211 miles long and runs (mostly in conjunction with the PCT) from Yosemite Valley to Mt Whitney, in California.


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