Monday July 3, 2000

John Muir Trail
Opens High Sierra To Hiking

By Polly Matthews

    TOLLHOUSE -- Completion of the mapping phase of the newly created John Muir Trail across the Sierra Nevada Range was completed in 1912. Officials at the Sierra National Forest told reporters that the entire amount spent on the just mapping the Trail was $5500 and came from the Tract budget.
     Exploring and mapping of the High Sierra was done in the late 1800s by men like Theodore Solomons, Bolton Brown and Joseph LeConte. With funds from the California state legislature, the Park Service and Forest Service began construction of the trail in 1908. The completion of the trail in 1916 was the result of the needs and dreams of many people.
    The John Muir Trail officially begins at Happy Isles in Yosemite and ends on the summit of Mt. Whitney. Obtaining a permit to begin your trip at Mt. Whitney is very difficult, as many people wish to climb Mr. Whitney and you must compete with them for permits. There are many other possible entry trails along the way that will shorten the trip and provide easy access. On the Inyo National Forest several trails have their own destination quota for accessing Mt. Whitney.
     The most popular time to travel the John Muir Trail is July through October. Snow may be present on high ridges and passes in early July. Most of the trail is at elevations above 7000 ft. and in some places over 13,000 ft. Summer days are usually warm, but freezing temperatures may occur at any time. Snow usually covers the trail in November.
     A wilderness permit is required for any overnight stay in Wilderness or National. Park backcountry areas. During the summer season, quotas are in effect on popular trails to minimize backcountry impacts and provide a quality wilderness experience for all visitors. Plan your trip early. Contact the Ranger Station nearest your entry point for further information on obtaining your wilderness permit.
     Wood fires are prohibited in some areas due to fire danger and the scarcity of dead and down wood. In areas where fires are allowed, dead and down wood may be scarce or too wet to burn. Never cut down standing trees or branches off of standing trees. Please use existing campfire rings and make small fires to conserve available firewood.
     Extinguish fires with water, stirring until cold, never pour dirt on your fire as this rapidly fills the campfire ring. Campstoves are strongly recommended.

Letter to the Editor

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