Soooooooo: Why would you wanna hike the JMT? O dear, there are tons of people who could come up with tons of reasons why not to!

But NO NO NO… that ain’t the way we roll right? Always be confident and positive (that you oughta know since you read my last post…. Haven’t read it yet? Total shame!!!)! Hell there are hundreds of reasons to hike the John Muir Trail, 168 to be exact! One reason for each day between the moment you apply for your wilderness permit and the day you’re about to set your first foot on the trail!


    1. Experiencing the feeling when you take your first steps on the trail and suddenly all worries disappear.
    2. The undescribable beauty of scenery at… o hell… everywhere along the JMT!
    3. Finding a forgotten Clifbar or Snickers somewhere in the bottom of your bearcan! Jihaaaa!
    4. The crazy and childlike happiness that overcomes you when you win the lottery!!! I danced people I danced like a crazy chick!
    5. Evolution valley. No need to explane. You’ll see!
    6. Jumping off rocks in Sallie Keyes Lakes!!!
    7. Climbing out of Yosemite Valley thinking: Fuck, this is really happening and ow fuck this is so damn beautiful!
    8. The feeling you have in your stomac right now, a few months before heading out. A mixture between respect, anticipation, excitement and the questions “Can I do it?”, “Am I gonna be warm enough?”, “How the heck am I gonna cramm 9 days of food in a bearcan?”
    9. Doing something your friends and family think you’re not able of doing. Proof them wrong baby! Proof them wrong!
    10. Thousand Island Lake. No need for words!
    11. Doing something you’re not sure yourself you’re able of doing. Test yourself baby! Test your boundaries, your limits, go where you’ve never been before!!!
    12. Swimming in Rosalie Lake.
    13. Hearing the Coyotes singing their songs in the evening.
    14. The unbelievable heavenly smell of cedar and pinetrees, o my god!!!
    15. Feeling humble and totally exited when black bears cross your trail!
    16. The burgers at Tuolomne Meadows.
    17. The burgers at Reds Meadows.
    18. The burgers at Whitney Portal.
    19. Trail magic.
    20. The fact that for the first time in your life you can eat and eat and eat and not get fatter.
    21. The fact that for the first time in your life you can eat and eat and eat and still feel hungry.
    22. Just one word: Alpenglow!!!
    23. The feeling you get in the morning when you’ve been hiking for 15 minutes and you’re like: God this is heaven! It feels sooooo great to be moving. The air that is still fresh, your legs doing well, and you being in the most beautiful place on earth!
    24. The dirt on your hands, your feet, your legs… hell… allover! It blurs the dividing lines between you and the Sierra dust. O ain’t we all dust? Wonderful dust though! :c)
    25. The anticipation you feel when preparing for the trail. Woaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa when is the last time you felt that exited!?
    26. The people you’ll meet. The ones you love, the ones you hate, the ones you wanna talk to, the ones you wanna pass by. But mostly the ones you become friends with, the ones that become your trailfamily. You’ll be going through things with them you’d never go through with your people back home. It’ll keep you connected forever.
    27. Your backpack getting lighter each mile you get closer to your next resupply point.
    28. Forester Pass! Hell yeah!
    29. Climbing Selden Pass and looking back towards Marie Lake!
    30. Hiker barrels, containing a bit of heaven!
    31. Being confronted with your mountain lion, may it be a real one or a symbol for the fears in your head. O how you’ll learn!!!
    32. Freedom!
    33. Leaving the sounds and noises of civilization behind. No traffic, no cellphones ringing, no washing machines, no people yelling. What a relieve!!!
    34. The view towards Center Peak before going down to Vidette Meadow! Never ever have I seen anything that beautifull!!!
    35. Sunrise on top of Mount Whitney. It’s worth freezing your ass off for!
    36. Hiker trash humor! Allowing yourself to be dirty sometimes! O hell free yourself from societies standards! Let the dirty little monster out! And enjoy it.
    37. The moment your hiker hunger sets in and you’re like: What the fuck?!
    38. The shooting stars and the wishes you get for free! Laying on your back and feeling like you’re in the middle of the universe!
    39. Meeting yourself! Getting to know yourself! Talking to yourself: “Hi there! Didn’t really know who you were but now I’m starting to figure it out! You hiking this trail? Girl/Man you actually rock!”
    40. Trail romance.
    41. Hiking in John Muir’s footprints!
    42. Taking silly pictures in the rock monster!
    43. Appreciating the perfect seat a bearcan makes.
    44. Getting over the bitch that is called Glen Pass (if going southbound). Getting over the bitch that is called Silver Pass (if going northbound).
    45. Passing the lake with the most beautiful name in the world: Lake of the lone Indian.
    46. Chasing rainbows after a thunderstorm.
    47. The surreal landscape of the Bighorn Plateau.
    48. McClure Meadow
    49. Getting away from everyday life, discovering there is soooo much more and you need sooooo much less!
    50. Your backpack getting filled with more gratitude each day you spend on trail.
    51. Peace! In your mind, your heart and around you!
    52. Jumping up and down on the suspension bridge across Woods Creek :cP Let your inner child out!!! Live people! Just live!!!
    53. Eating candy and chocolate and bars and m&m’s and peanut butter and twizzlers… at the same time… without one single second of remorse!
    54. Drinking Sierra water!!!
    55. Going through blogs and blogs and more blogs the months before hitting the trail.
    56. Opening your resupply box and shouting: What the fucking hell was I thinking?
    57. Meeting John Ladd along the trail and being inspired by his love for the JMT!
    58. A rainbow coming out of Muir Hut and the Black Giant in the back :c)
    59. Getting an awesome and totally crazy trailname!!! And the probably hilarious situation that lead to it.
    60. Sunset and sunrise at Mc’Clure Meadow. It can’t get much better!
    61. Each night laying your head down to sleep on the land you’re connecting with more each day you spend outdoors.O Great mother earth!
    62. Feeling yourself getting stronger, both physically and mentally, with each pass you conquer.
    63. Sitting around a fire in the evening, sharing your story of the day, listening to other’s their story and feeling a part of the community.
    64. Dirty girls gaiters doing what they were made for: keeping debris outta your shoes!
    65. Experiencing loneliness and discovering it doesn’t just hurt but can be healing as well!
    66. Feeling a part of the bigger thing!!! O you tiny human, you are so small and still: you do make a difference!
    67. Cruising the basins after the passes!
    68. Catching the morning sun :c)
    69. The first sight of Whitney! O baby!!!
    70. Feeling so humbled by the greatness of nature!
    71. Hot bearded hiker trash men! Ladies keep your eyes open!
    72. Not giving a single gramm of fuck about the fact that you just stink!
    73. Freezer bag cooking.
    74. Pooing outdoors. O those toilets with A view!!!
    75. Feeling a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. amazing!
    76. Climbing Half Dome as a side trip, standing in front of the cables, thinking: Shit, in the pictures it really didn’t look all that steep. And then you drag your ass up anyway and are pumped with adrenaline.
    77. Lyell Canyon. Enjoying the overwhelming beauty and… the only bit of flat trail hahaha.
    78. Looking back north while hiking towards the Golden Staircase.
    79. Squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, pikas… Critters? No waaaay! They are soooo cute!!!
    80. Realising that sometimes a fire has to burn to let new possibilities grow.
    81. Trees!!!!!!!!!!! Providing shade!!! And teaching that standing still can make you grow too!
    82. Marie lake!
    83. Chatting with “The Ladies” at the JMT FBgroup ;cP Ladies, you all rock!
    84. The clouds casting shadows on the mountains, as if playing a shadow-theatreplay just for you!
    85. Thinking each second of the way: “This is it! This is how life should be!” Even if it’s raining or you’re having a hard time getting over that pass. The worst day on trail is better than the best day in normal life.
    86. Staring at your bare feet in the evening, making big eyes and thinking or even yelling out loud: Ow fuck my feet are diiiiiiiiiirty! Ever been that proud of dirty feet???
    87. Allowing yourself to adapt your pace to the pace of wilderness!
    88. Just before reaching Lower Palisade Lake
    89. Discovering you’re a gear junkie after all.
    90. Reading John Muir’s writings! Understanding where he got his inspiration from! It ain’t hard right, once you hike thru the Sierra?!
    91. Reaching the end of your comfort zone. Letting the magic happen!
    92. Meeting Pacific Crest Trail hikers… Our heroes!!!!!!!! :c)
    93. The first sighting of the sun in the morning, coming over the mountain rim and suddenly filling your body with warmth and happiness! A new day is born and so are you!
    94. Climbing Whitney in the light of the full moon.
    95. Finally knowing what “home” feels like.
    96. Realising that you only need your backpack and what’s inside to live the life of your dreams! Most of it is in your mind and your soul anyway!
    97. Granite, rocks and stones. Being hard and soft at the same time.
    98. The view from Mather Pass
    99. The fact that you start to love your body and the feet you never really noticed before… how important they are… Carrying you around, bringing you to the most beautiful spots on this planet!!!
    100. The mirror nature provides. It is one of the strongest mirrors there is, not only showing you the surface and the obvious, but reflecting what’s deeper and beyond… Can you see what is hiding in your heart?
    101. All those moments where you just gotta stop, stand still and let your mouth fall open, struck with awe.
    102. “In wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off and wounds heal ere we are aware.” John Muir
    103. The soft yellow light that radiates from the rocks and walls.
    104. Getting to Guitar Lake and thinking: Hey it really does look like a guitar :c) Wondering who’s playing its song for you? It’s the wind writing the lines in the water! Open your ears and your minds to the music of the wilderness!!!
    105. Realising, while hiking, this journey changes you and you’ll never be the same.
    106. Loving the dirt on your face, the expression of real outdoor life!!! No need for make up ladies! You are beautiful the way you are!
    107. The way your mind gets quiet, stops having imaginary conversations, finally gets a break.
    108. Right before reaching Pinchot Pass, hiking southbound.
    109. Getting trailmail through people you’ve never met from people you’ve met but are hiking faster than you are :c) It’s like: “Hey! Are you X? Y says hello!” And you’re like: “WTF, how the hell do you know my name?” hahaha!
    110. Having coffee in the morning. Just a tiny bit of luxury!
    111. Actually enjoying climbing the tough passes and thinking: Hell, this ain’t too bad. In fact: I kinda love it!
    112. Writing sentences like this in your trailjournal: “Holy spirit… this is home. This is where I belong, this is life. Move, eat, sleep, move and take in the beauty of nature. Fuck! My backpack is soooo filled with gratitude!!!” …or: “And then we got to Evolution Lake and my eyes filled with tears ’cause I hardly could take it all in. That lake mirroring the huge rock mountains around. O thank you for all that beauty!!!”
    113. Doing a nero-day: Getting up late, enjoying a lazy breakfast, hiking a bit, having lunch in the most beautiful restaurant on earth (no seats and tables but hell the view outta the windows!), hiking just a bit further, setting up camp, being lazy, playing the uke, painting, having dinner at the campfire, watching shooting stars and falling asleep under that stunning sky.
    114. After a long day: Being sooo tired but still soooo satisfied!!!
    115. Being ok with the fact that you’re just a snail on trail :c)
    116. Reaching the highest elevation your feet ever took you!!! Wuhuuuuu!
    117. Tripping without getting hurt and feeling like a turtle laying on its back, not being able to get up and meanwhile thinking: “O hell I could just lay here for a little longer. It’s actually pretty nice!”
    118. Between Pinchot Pass and the Suspension bridge across Woods Creek
    119. Realising there is something in your body that I call “the turbo button”. You can push it the moment you think you can’t go any further, you’re done for the day but actually still have 5 more miles to go. Just push your turbo button and you’ll be like “WTF? Where was that energy hiding???” That turbo button is a hell of a thing!!!
    120. Meeting day hikers around the devils postpile and watching their mouth literally fall open (and keeping it in that position for several seconds) when you tell them you’re on your way to Whitney :c) (O man imagine hiking the PCT, people probably won’t close their mouth for an hour or so hahaha… O I’m just hiking to Canada! Wha…..????)
    121. Helen Lake! Not just because of the fact that it is called after me (hahaha) but also because of reflecting the bluest heaven on earth!
    122. The deer that aren’t afraid of humans!!! Soooooooooooo cool!!!
    123. Taking off your socks and shoes during breaks! Aaah! Feels so great!
    124. More hot bearded hiker trash men! Hell yeah!
    125. Dancing like a moron in the middle of the beautiful nowhere!!!
    126. Listening to the song “Tuolomne” by Eddie Vedder in Tuolomne Meadows.
    127. Learning to finally pronounce “Tuolomne” right hahaha. Man it took me a week! And I’m still struggling sometimes ;cP
    128. Looking down on Vidette Meadow, East Vidette and Center Peak
    129. Crisps! Loads of crisps! Eh yeah that are chips to you, you Mericans! Eat, enjoy, no regrets!
    130. Hot chocolate before going to bed (eh to sleepingpad).
    131. Discovering left over treats in a bearbox (I know it’s not really allowed to leave food but hell if you find candy and whiskey in there, it sure feels like Christmas!)
    132. The fact that most people you meet you feel like as if you’ve know eachother for ages. And you’ve always got something to talk about because even if going solo and even if you’re not into talking with others, at some point you’ll feel the urgent need to say to at least one other person:” O my fuckin god, it is so so so beautiful out here!”
    133. Living the simple pattern of eat, hike, eat, hike, eat, sleep, eat, hike, eat, hike, eat, sleep, eat, hike, eat, hike, eat, sleep, eat, hike, eat, hike, eat, sleep, eat, hike, eat, hike, eat, sleep,…  It’s a blessing! And you’ll wonder what you were actually doing in the cotton world. Why can’t you keep daily life that simple?
    134. Being hungry and then all outta nowhere some hiker comes along, happens to have too much food and ends up giving you dinners, clifbars, nutella… The trail provides yeahhhh!!!
    135. Hiking on your own, standing still, and feeling like as if you’re the only person left on the planet. It’s not the feeling of loneliness or being left behind, but the feeling of ultimate peace, of being one with nature, of having a break from all expectations, it’s a feeling of just “being”… no more no less, and… it feels perfect in that very moment!
    136. Doing what you are ment to do: Moving your body, using your feet, travelling the earth without technical help like cars or bikes or whatever. Na a this is your body doing it!!!
    137. Getting a sense for the weather, learning to read what the clouds and the smell of the air is telling you.
    138. A fairytale camp between Vidette Meadow and Forester Pass
    139. Climbing a pass and thinking: Fuck to all who said I couldn’t do this, who were questioning my abilities and my determination! Fuck’em!!!
    140. Being the first to break camp in the morning. Other hikers are still sleeping, you get up quietly, have breakfast on your own, enjoy the morning silence and peace and when they get up, you say “good morning, see you at lunch” and off you go on your own… about to rock the trail! Knowing some wonderful people are behind you. O no you don’t enjoy it because you are first (na a, that ain’t what it’s about), but because you know at some point of the day, you’ll meet them again and you’ll be surprised how fast they were or how long they took… it doesn’t matter, you’ll just be happy to meet them again and share stories.
    141. Looking down southwards from Mather pass and thinking: This is how the earth must have looked like when she first was created!
    142. “You will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.” (C.Joybell) No matter whether you’re bringing your Base Pack Weight down or you’re finally dropping that heavy load you’ve been carrying on your shoulders for way too long!
    143. Feeling raw and wild the way you never felt before!
    144. The mountains were calling you… ;c)
    145. Living your life to the fullest! Because if life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away… the JMT sure is a loooooot of life!!! Hell yeah!
    146. Singing a song on the steps of Muir hut :c)
    147. Discovering new views, new smells, new places, new feelings, new perspectives, new “you-s”, new worlds; ’cause as John Muir said: “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” And there do are a lot of pines along the JMT!!!
    148. Conquering Pass after Pass.
    149. Not standing in front of your wardrobe every morning, thinking about what to wear. Na a… you’ll just wear the clothes you wore yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that and so on. It’s as easy as that!
    150. Because if you wouldn’t hike the JMT, you’d spend the rest of your days wondering “what if…”
    151. The feeling you get each time you get on top of a pass: “YEAH!!! I did it!!! Again!!!!”
    152. Getting a tan. Well yeah, why shouldn’t that be a reason? ;cP
    153. Rae lakes!!!
    154. Realising you’ll never really be able to share what you’ve experienced along the JMT with someone who wasn’t there. I know, maybe that’s a bit sad, but on the other hand it means that you’ll experience something very very special and you’ll create memories you’ll never ever forget!!!
    155. Climbing a Golden Staircase in the most beautiful form ever created! O man the staircases in the Vatican and in Versailles are nothing compared to the Golden Staircase on the JMT.
    156. While hiking up the Golden Staircase, singing Led Zeppelins “Stairway to heaven”. You’ll be too outta breath to sing? Well then you’re just hiking too fast baby!!!
    157. For once not saving the best for last. Na a… eating your m&m’s and all the tasty stuff in your trailmix first, ’cause you know that by the end of the afternoon you won’t care about taste anymore. You’ll just shuffle all the calories you can find into your mouth, not noticing what taste they have (so keep the things you least like for last). Calories are calories.
    158. On top of Mount Whitney! Hell yeah!!!
    159. Sleeping in some of the most beautiful places on earth, getting up in the morning, opening the fly of your tent and the first thing you think is: I think I never woke up in a place more beautiful than this!
    160. Rediscovering the child in you, remembering what it is like to see the world through the eyes of a child, being curious, and happy and free of worries.
    161. Reading through the days gone by in your journal and noticing the words you’ve written most are: THANK YOU!
    162. “Because in the end, you won’t remember all the time spent at the office or out mowing the yard. Go climb that goddamn mountain!” Jack Kerouac
    163. Just putting one foot in front of the other and realising the trail is a metaphor for life. When the day gets rough, all you gotta do is take it one step at a time. And tomorrow the sun will rise again!!!
    164. The bittersweet moment when you reach the end of the JMT and a tear passes your smile when it makes its way back to the earth.You’re happy and sad at the same time because this amazing journey comes to and end, but then you also realise that an end is never just an end but always is a beginning too!
    165. As John Muir said: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” While hiking the JMT you’ll receive more than you could ever dream of, than you could ever seek for! There are so many more reasons than just these 168 to hike the JMT!
    166. Daring to dream even bigger dreams!!
Dream big!!!

 So my dear hiker trash friends, what I am saying is: I’m sure there are a lot of reasons not to hike, but there are waaaaaaaaaay more reasons to HIKE THE JMT! So don’t spend your life asking the “what if-s” and regretting the “if I just had-s”. 

Happy Trails! Cat xxx





8 thoughts on “168 Reasons to hike the John Muir Trail

  1. You're getting me all excited! I'm going in September and I can't wait. I'm a astronomy hobbyist so #39 really speaks to me. I live in an area where I can see the stars and even the milky way a bit, but I know it's nothing like what those nights are going to be like.


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