Live from the JMT

We are dusty, dirty, hungry, slightly tan but also sunburned, tired, excited and on the trail. And all of our gear is wet. Specifically, we are currently taking a zero (rest day) on in Mammoth Lakes after having hiked the first 56 miles of the John Muir Trail.

Dad at the beginning of the JMT in Yosemite Valley

First we wandered through the smooth, sleeping granite giants in Yosemite. Among the day hikers clutching half liter water bottles and bags of Doritos, we were something else. We were thruhikers, with heavy loads and many days to go.

Half Dome as seen from the way up Cloud's Rest

Since a short stint in Tuolumne Meadows, we've left the crowds and everyone we meet is part of the same club. A group of people who choose to spend their days moving through landscapes at a slower pace. People who know that smelly clothes and heavy packs are the price to pay for countless vistas and Sierra swimming holes.

Sunrise on Banner Peak as seen from our campsite at Garnet Lake

And those swimming holes! Swimming every day is part of the routine, as essential as eating. For who can pass by potholes traversed by babbling brooks or the cool silence of a serene lake?

Sigmund, a Norwegian friend I spontaneously met (full story coming later) butterflies in the early morning in Cathedral Lake. Cathedral Peak soaks in the first rays of the sun in the background.

We carry the weight of our world on our shoulders, because our world what we can carry in our backpacks. Suffice to say that my world has seen fit to shrink since day 1 in Yosemite. So many things seem essential in the living room at home and prove less important on the trail.

Mom and Karin admire the view on the way up Donohue Pass

We have already climbed high, doing our first pass over 11 000 feet (about 3300 meters) a couple of days ago. I can already feel my lungs adapting to the altitude. The altitude doesn't stop the flowers either, the multitude of colors and varieties of which hasn't ceased to astound me.

Mountain Pride (Penstemmon Newberri) growing on the slopes of Donohue Pass, with Zoe in the background

Although the weather was great for the better part of the first week, we have been hit hard the last couple days by intense afternoon thundershowers and hail. Upon our arrival in Red's Meadow yesterday, the roads had partially flooded because of the rain. Luckily we had a rest day penciled in for today, and we decided to take it at the hiker's hostel (Davison St) in Mammoth, where we're drying our stuff and furiously organizing the food from our resupply boxes.

This will be my only blog post during the JMT, so savor it in suspense of the full report coming up sometime after August 2.

I'll finish with a final photo from the top of Donohue Pass.

Me, Zoe, Karin and Annevitte. Banner Peak is the spike in the distance.

Happy Trails!

- The Wild Bazilchuk


  1. What a gorgeous trip!! I loved every photo and word. My favorite sentence: "So many things seem essential in the living room at home and prove less important on the trail." After every single backpacking trip I go on, I have a similar feeling and it prompts me to donate at least a box full of stuff to charity every time. Our lives have too much clutter! Enjoy the remainder of your trip to Mt. Whitney!


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