Measureless Mountain Days

Mather Pass PortraitIn 2003, my eighteen-year old son, Drew, and I hiked the John Muir Trail together. For a number of reasons our trip would likely not resemble an episode of “Leave it to Beaver.” Drew was not coming out of any passion for wilderness travel, but to fulfill a “business deal” we had cut.  His anxiety about the trip was further fueled by the fear that he simply couldn’t do it.

Measureless-Mountain-Days-Rendered-BuyOur trip would also be complicated by Drew’s extraordinary “issues” that frequently bumped up against a father, who try as he might, sometimes responded badly.  We had had some ugly moments.

Measureless Mountain Days: A Father and Son on the John Muir Trail is our story. The words are from my daily journal brightened only slightly from the ones I set down on the trail.  But it is a lively account—beautifully illustrated with stunning photography—of our 221-mile journey along the dramatic crest of California’s Sierra Nevada. Under any circumstances, a teenage son and his father are a volatile mix. We would be alone together in the wilderness, walking all day, every day for three weeks. What awaited us? How would we do?

The John Muir Trail is surely the most famous and the most beautiful wilderness path in the lower forty-eight states.  Beginning at an elevation of 4,000 feet in Yosemite Valley, the trail follows the crest of the Sierra Nevada for 221 miles over eleven mountain passes—two above 13,000 feet—to the summit of Mt. Whitney, at 14,495 feet, the highest point in the United States outside of Alaska.  On this journey, a hiker will take nearly a half million strides and climb a total of 46,000 feet through a spectacular mountain landscape, most of it far from a road or town.

Perhaps you are contemplating such a trip, and you might be wondering what is in store for you.  In the pages of Measureless Mountain Days: A Father and Son on the John Muir Trail, you will get a real sense of what it feels like—the hardships, the frustrations, and the triumphs—to spend three weeks in the wilderness.

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