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These photographs were taken as I was hiking the John Muir Trail, south bound. It is roughly in the order of my hiking direction. The trail is 211 miles within pristine nature without any signs of human civilization. You may see a waist-high metal sign every 30 miles or so, to point you in the right direction: north or south. The trail is a mix of ancient Native American trails and horse trails that has been used for hundreds of years. John Muir, the man the trail was named after was a conservationist who made this trail possible as we see it now by linking these series of trails. You need a permit to hike these trails and numbers of the passes are highly regulated to minimize the impact of the delicate eco system. People who apply for the permit to hike the length of the trail is often rejected.
The elevation averages from 8,000 to 13,000 feet with Mt. Whitney being the highest point at 14,505 feet at the southern end of the trail. The trail passes through spectacular mountain peaks and hundreds of crystal clear glacier lakes that can only be viewed by hiking in for miles or days. While there are bears on the trail, and I've encountered three of them, most are in the valleys or lower elevation where there are more things to eat. Bears are too smart to be at the elevation where trees refuse to live. The temperature during the summer months is a very cool 60-70's during the day and 40-50's during the night. But there were many nights that went close to freezing. One of the distinguishing trait of this trail is that you are miles or days away from any civilization on most part of the trail. There are resupply points that are scattered through the trails where you can find hearty meals but not even close to amenities of a hotel. Out there you are truly unplugged.
The people that are on the trail are like-minded people who values nature and everything it gives or takes. We all have different reasons why we would endure the hardships of being tired, cold, wet, hungry, smelly, in pain, scared... but we all agree that it's well worth the cost. Friendships are easily made in such majestic place. It's as if our emotions and differing perceptions have been distilled into a simpler form by the crucible of the mountains. Out there we appreciate and respect each other because we know we may need each others help.
I hope you enjoy these photographs. I was amazed daily, if not hourly by the profound beauty of untouched nature out on the trail. It is my hope that I've translated mere fraction of the true beauty of the Sierras through the lens of my camera.
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