The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. From the northern terminus at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley ( ) and the southern terminus located on the summit of Mount Whitney ( ), the Trail’s official length is 210.4 miles (338.6 km), with an elevation gain of approximately 47,000 feet (14,000 m). For almost all of its length, the trail is in the High Sierra backcountry and wilderness areas. For about 160 miles (260 km), the trail, named for naturalist John Muir, follows the same footpath as the longer Pacific Crest Trail.
The vast majority of the trail is situated within designated wilderness. The trail passes through large swaths of alpine and high mountain scenery, and lies almost entirely at or above 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in elevation. About 35% of the trail, including the entirety of the last 30 miles (48 km), lie above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). The trail has been described as “America’s most famous trail”; known for its relative solitude, the trail sees about 1,500 thru-hiking attempts each year (including Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers), many fewer than the number of attempts on comparable walks such as the southern portion of Appalachian Trail or the Way of St. James.
Source: John Muir Trail – Wikipedia
The Maine Appalachian Trail is a tough, tough place to hike. There are lots of mountains and mud and rocks and roots, but the weather is just so unpredictable and nasty!
I got a taste of that (again) when I backpacked from Stratton to Rangely for 4 nights and 3 days, last week. This is a very tough section of the trail with a lot of above treeline exposure and steep climbs up North and South Crocker, Spaulding Mountain, The Horn and Saddleback Mountains.
I’d hoped to go even farther than Rangeley on this hike and finish all of the remaining 79 miles of the AT I have in Maine, but I got off the trail after 32 miles due to violent thunderstorms, hail, high winds, rain, and a possible tornado. Being a section hiker, I had a hard deadline (my wife’s birthday) to finish this hike by and there was no way I was going to make it with a 2 day bad weather delay. That’s basically what it boiled down too.
Rangeley turned out to be a good town – basically the only town – to get off the trail and get a ride back to my car down in Grafton Notch, something that only happened because of a little trail magic.