A brief adventure on the John Muir Trail days 1, 2, and 3

Categories:John Muir Trail | On the trail | Trail Stories | Trips

JMT2013-2The adventure begins with an email saying that my flight is an hour late. I then spend the rest of the day making sure that I can make my connecting flights. The original plan was to fly into Seattle and Paul would pick me up and then we would drive down to Merced CA. I ended up having to change flights and destinations in order to make things work. I flew into Portland and landed around midnight.  Paul made great time to pick me up and off into the night we drove.

We arrived at Merced around 11:30 am on the  9th. We had just missed the YARTS bus that would take us to Yosemite. The next one was not scheduled until 5:30pm so we had some time to organize our gear and rest up a bit.

The YARTS shows up and we wind our way up over the mountains and we arrive at Yosemite around 7 and then hunt down the backpackers campground. This task was quite a bit harder than we expected and burned up more daylight than we had hoped. We set up our tents and put away all of our smelly stuff in the bear locker and headed to bed.

Got up early and had some breakfast. Paul headed out to hike up half dome and my mission for the day was to get our permit and hang out until he got back. As I sit there drinking coffee and eating my breakfast I hear folks yelling and screaming at what I am guessing was a bear however I never actually saw it.

Paul and I had planned on meeting up and then hiking a few miles out after he got done with Half Dome. Due to a miscommunication we ended up some how continuously missing each other and finally met back up at the backpackers campground we decided spend the night and not hike. I think Paul was thankful it happened that way because he had hiked quite a bit that day already.

JMT2013-3Another early wake up we had breakfast quickly packed up and hit the trail. Today would be a really tough day much tougher than we had both realized. The trail started off fairly easy and then the climb out of Yosemite valley began. 101 switchbacks later several thousand feet gained and all done in just a few miles it was time for a break. I had planned on stopping at the top at a stream to fill up on water. I am glad the stream was there because I had run out just shortly before hitting the top.  There were some other folks there and they said that I had just missed Paul by about 10 minutes and that he would meet me at Tenaya Lake a few miles up the trail.  I filled up my water filter and let it do its thing. I really enjoy using the Gravity Works filter because it allows me to take a short break eat some snacks while it filters.  Once done I headed up the trail to meet Paul at Tenaya Lake.

I met up with Paul and began to feel bad. There were lots of factors involved. Lack of calories, dehydration, and altitude. This was my first time hiking in this part of the country and my body was telling me it did not like it.  We pushed on drinking more eating more and hoping the feeling would pass. Eventually it would but my energy level never came back. At that point it was just a mental game to get my body to our campsite set up camp and crash.

JMT2013-4The views were amazing. I can not describe the beauty that we experienced today. Even photos do not do it justice.  We continued on for what seemed like an eternity.  We stopped just outside the Yosemite boundary to refill out water and then we headed back into the Yosemite backcountry in search for a campsite.  We were expecting some kind of sign to designate what areas were campsites. We never saw any type of sign to designate a camp so we found the first flat and debris free spot and too kit.  We chose a nice flat rock overlook to camp on for the evening. Most of the other places we found were not suitable for tenting because of the downed trees and rocks.  Dinner was cooked and camp was set up very shortly after that we headed to bed. I was exhausted.

I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and had to pee so I got up did what I had to do and then headed back to my tent. I stopped for a moment turned off my head lap and looked up into the stars.  Looking up at the billions of stars it was a nice reminder of how small we are on this little blue rock.  I crawled back into my tent and quickly fell back to sleep.


Adam Nutting relishes being an avid backpacker, hiker, and all-around adventure junkie. While he currently spends his time hiking in the backcountry of southern Arizona, he grew up in Missouri, where he was naturally inclined to spend as much time as he could outdoors. Adam’s passion for the outdoors grew as he climbed the ranks of the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

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