Why I am Hiking the John Muir Trail

It’s been awhile Trekkers, since I’ve graced the pages of the this dear website. You may remember me from last year, as I walked from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide Trail. Well, that didn’t kill me–in fact, it just confirmed that weird feeling that I somehow belong out there, so I’m moving on to the next trail, and I’m pretty stoked for this upcoming adventure.

Mr. Muir, your mountains are calling and I must go!

(I despise that quote, but I couldn’t help it…)

I’ve decided to hike the John Muir Trail! Starting in late June, I plan to walk from the southern terminus of the JMT on Mt. Whitney (the tallest mountain in the Continental US) to Yosemite National Park. A measly 220 miles, compared to my 2700 mile CDT adventure last year, but it won’t be without its challenges. The Sierras have gotten more than their fair share of snow this year. The passes will be snowy and the river crossings will be treacherous with spring run off, but I feel ready for this trek.

Why the John Muir Trail?

Here are some of the reasons that I’ve decided to hike the John Muir Trail:
1. I got lucky enough to score a lottery permit for Mt. Whitney. WOOT. The mountain gods were with me.
2. I can keep my job. After finishing the CDT, I pretty much ran out of money, and I currently can’t take off for another 5 month adventure to hike another long trail (THE TRIPLE CROWN TAUNTS ME)–at least for another couple years. The JMT is doable in 2 weeks.
3. I have never been in the Sierras before. Everyone I know who has walked through this area has nothing by wonderful things to say about it. I cannot wait to experience these mountains!
4. I’m actually in hiking shape? I’ve always been a firm believer that the only way to prep for a thru-hike is to thru hike. But since finishing the CDT, I’ve taken up Ultra Running. You know, those crazy people that run 30+ miles in the mountains at one time? Yeah, I guess that’s me now. (Don’t worry, thru-hiking will always be my first love.) It’s been a perfect way to keep me in the hiker frame of mind and keep my body strong through the winter. I’m ready to hit the ground running, so to speak.
5. I’m ready for a different kind of challenge. I’ve made some changes to my gear, my pack’s a little lighter, I’m in good shape, and I’m ready to go fast. I want to finish the JMT in 8 days. That would mean knocking off an average 27.5 miles/day. I honestly don’t know if that will be possible with the snow and river crossings. I’m open for changes in my plans, but I’m also ready to have some fun out there and give it the ol’ college try.

Some questions…

Why travel northbound? Traditionally, the John Muir Trail is hiked southbound from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney, starting low and working your way up to Whitney. I’m looking forward to starting with the challenge of Whitney and ending my hike in Yosemite, where I can explore afterwards.

Am I worried about snow pack? I am excited about snow pack. You may recall my San Jaun Mountain adventure in Colorado, moving through high elevation snow pack. It was slow-moving and very post-holey, but it was one of the highlights of my CDT journey. I have heard rumors that Sierra snow is vastly different then Colorado snow, and I’m looking forward to experiencing that difference. (I’m much more nervous about river/stream crossings then snow pack…)

Please follow along with me in the coming weeks, as I hike the John Muir Trail.

Follow me on trail and off on Instagram; I’ve been told that my IG stories alone are just to die for: @kaytebrown

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Comments 2

  • Andrew : Jun 3rd

    Starting from Yosemite next weekend – hopefully out paths cross.

    Happy hiking,

    • katie brown : Jun 3rd

      Awesome Andrew!! We’ll do a Hi-five as we pass each other!


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