Number Seven

March 28, 2018
Vernal Fall Footbridge
Total distance walked:  3.60 miles

For the past several days I have been dreaming of hiking the John Muir Trail, something that I have ruminated and researched for years.  I went back to the JMT websites that I have visited often and watched more YouTube videos.  I even borrowed a JMT book from the library—one that I have already read.

What has rekindled and reenergized my interest in the hike?  My son’s friend, Erin (his girlfriend’s twin sister) got a permit to hike the trail beginning on September 1, 2018.  Her permit is for six people.

Yosemite National Park
Sun shines through the trees on the trail to the trailhead.

What a perfect opportunity for me to do this hike, I thought.  Here was my chance since I would never hike this trail by myself.  The more I mulled the idea, the more excited I became.  The worst thing that could happen is that the answer is no.  So, I asked my husband, “Can I hike the John Muir Trail with Erin.”  After a short discussion, his answer was yes.  However, Erin has already asked five people to join her on the month-long journey, but only one person has confirmed.  She said, “If there is a spot, then definitely you can go.

Yosemite National Park
Heading towards the John Muir trailhead.

I was so excited that I thought, why do I need to be #7?  What if I obtain my own permit and travel along with Erin’s group?  So I tried to get my own permit with no luck.

To alleviate some of the excessive excitement I felt, I headed to Yosemite National Park where the southbound John Muir Trail begins.  I could hardly wait to get out into the bright morning sunshine, the unbroken blue sky.  There were people all around.  I forgot that Easter week is often times the beginning of spring break.  I paid no attention to them and instead looked to the high peaks surrounding the valley. They still held snow, but the ground was clear.

Yosemite National Park
Snow-filled mountain tops.
John Muir Trail
211 miles to other end of the John Muir Trail.

I walked the steep, asphalt-covered trail passing Illilouette Gorge and Illilouette Fall up to the Vernal Fall Footbridge.  Along the way I pretended that I was actually heading out on the John Muir Trail.  Afterwards I strolled along the river’s edge finding peace and solitude in an otherwise busy park.

Illilouette Fall and Illilouette Gorge
Illilouette Fall in the middle of the gorge.
Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park
Vernal Fall from the footbridge.

Number 7 seems like a safe position.  There is only a small chance that I may go.  You see, not only is hiking the John Muir Trail a dream I’ve held for years, it is also a fear.  Am I strong enough physically and mentally to do this?  Do I train for the exhausting elevation gains and losses?  Do I prepare and plan?  Number 7 allows me to actively train and plan without any of the fear, until I hear otherwise.  As #7 on a permit for six, I will continue to dream…and wait.