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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.