Choices…Consequences…and Transformation

I chose to hike the John Muir Trail for a very simple reason…I wanted to backpack out on the west coast and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains…

Purple Lake ~ 9,930' Friday, July 8th, 2016 View from tent site
Purple Lake ~ 9,930′
Friday, July 8th, 2016
View from tent site

As I viewed pictures, websites, read blogs and Facebook posts…as I researched, read more and anticipated…and in my simplest gathering of thoughts could I then only begin to truly imagine how I envisioned this trail!  I began to get a sense of what the John Muir Trail may look like…I tried to see it through the eyes of others, though their writings, through their experiences and their perspectives.  I read quotes and writings from John Muir…what magnificent beauty and grandeur he so passionately wrote about and fought for.  I could only imagine through the eyes of others.

Silver Pass 10,740'
Silver Pass 10,740′

I myself needed to testify and witness…to breathe the dry dusty air…to smell the aromas of pine trees and sky pilot wildflowers…to touch and feel the rocks beneath my feet…to stop beside each little morsel of shade as the sun drenched heat of the day promised to conquer our steps…a trail that was going to challenge and test strength…health…endurance and spiritually…I wanted to experience the boldness and power of this trail.

Painted Lady Rae Lakes Kings Canyon National Park
Painted Lady
Rae Lakes
Kings Canyon National Park

New and unfamiliar words that lined the pages of the Guidebook in an attempt to educate me in the realm of geology…words like: metamorphic and metavolcanic rocks, granodiorite, columnar basalt and pluton formation which all thrown together created a landscape that gives the High Sierra its spectacular array of color, shape and beauty…jagged, sharp, round or smooth…I often questioned the how and why to God’s creation.

Devils Postpile Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 View from the JMT
Devils Postpile
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
View from the JMT

Amongst the rocky mountains, wildflowers lined the trail and sprung up in green lush meadows, flowed out of the tight crevices of rock and produced color in a dry thirsty region.  Clear bottomless lakes the color of turquoise…rocks in all shapes and sizes displaying their red, black, grey and pink colors.  Wildlife that darted throughout the landscape…and my favorite…the loud but beautiful Steller’s Jay…all of this brought an awe of peacefulness to heart and mind as I hiked southbound toward Mt Whitney.

Steller's Jay
Steller’s Jay

The High Sierra boast with soaring granite cliffs, peaks towering 13,000 & 14,000 feet…lakes, waterfalls and canyons…yet, with all of this spectacular beauty comes a price that many a hiker must endure if they are to experience this vast wilderness.  The unknowing and unforeseen hardships of a trail…

Sun setting on Evolution Lake & Basin
Sun setting on Evolution Lake & Basin

Many a hiker must turn back because they are unable to acclimate to the higher altitudes of the Sierra Nevada.  Tiger Lily and I daily were confronted with headaches, nauseated stomachs, dizziness and tiredness.  We climbed each mountain pass with a slow pace only to stop on occasion to catch our breath and rest.  The dry and dusty altitude and environment caused daily nose bleeds and a dry cough.  Deep blue skies with a sun that would cause us to wear long sleeved shirts throughout the day covering necks, hands and arms to keep the sun from burning our skin.  Sunscreen, bug spray, Dramamine, ibuprofen and tissue were kept within the side pockets of our packs for repeated use daily.  Bug nets to protect the face and neck…backpacks that weighed heavy on the back causing extreme shoulder pain and lower back bruising on Tiger Lily.  Packs, sleeping bag, stuff sacks held together with duck tape.  Gear that would not perform properly…

Muir Pass Looking for the trail...
Muir Pass
Looking for the trail…

Once we arrived at the Muir Trail Ranch and with 112 miles yet to hike…I chose to ship my ball cap back home thus causing my nose and lip to blister and bleed due to wind and sun exposure.  I shipped home any bug spray and bug net…many a night we would eat our dinner in the privacy of our tents leaving the mosquitoes out to fight amongst themselves…I shipped home my camera and extra battery charger knowing full well that possibly my phone would not last the duration of the hike.  Therefore I do not have any pictures of the last two days…Forester Pass and the summit of Mt Whitney!  I shipped back tissue and food and clothing…thus we both ran out of tissue and food for the last day…all in an attempt to keep my pack at a somewhat reasonable weight and to fit everything within.

Descending Glen Pass
Descending Glen Pass

Yet all of this…despite all of the trials of this trail we chose to have a grateful heart…we chose to be thankful…we talked about attitude, perseverance and endurance…how the woman who began back in Yosemite would not be the same woman that finishes on top of Mt Whitney.  How if you allow the trail to transform, shape and mold you…to give you a better understanding of self…you will push through the obstacles that cloud your mind.  You will begin to trust your judgement in making a decision for yourself.  You will burst through those difficult comfort zones.  Your sun drenched body will glow…your pack will appear lighter…your strength will improve…you will slowly acclimate to the thinner air…you will adjust to the many tears and holes in your gear cause by the bear…you may stumble and fall on slippery gravel covered rocks but you get up and hike on with barely a notice…your legs are now like the pillars of rock…you eat for the nutrition, energy and power as it faithfully sustains you.  You learn that you can not fight the trail but that you will eventually become a part of it.  You recognize once again that the God of our universe created all of this beauty…so that someday…Tiger Lily and Princess Doah would hike these mountains and would lift up our faces to the heavens to breathe in the life that He lay before us with much thankfulness, gratitude and devotion to Him…and our journey was rewarded…the adventure was amazing and the passion was a fiery yearning for the mountains, for life and for God.

Princess Doah & Tiger Lily John Muir Trail June 29th ~ July 19th, 2016 Mather Pass
Princess Doah & Tiger Lily
John Muir Trail
June 29th ~ July 19th, 2016
Mather Pass

A prayer of Grace, Mercy and Love to you…

Princess Doah







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