It’s Still John Muir’s Yosemite – Anyway You Experience It
When John Muir went out to explore the Yosemite Valley he packed a loaf or two of homemade bread, a jug of water, and a packet of tea. What would the founder of the Sierra Club think of today’s glamping?
He would probably be all for it – anything to get people into nature and experience the transformative beauty that is Yosemite. A gregarious sort, he would probably interrupt his rambles and take a selfie with you. He would be among the first to endorse any way to responsibly enjoy our natural treasures.
That is why Four Seasons Guides crafts Yosemite multi-day backpacking trips for all level of adventurer. The High Sierra Beginners Backpack takes advantage of lighter backpacks and shorter hiking routes into the backcountry where hikers can enjoy more day hiking exploration in order to enjoy those calendar-worthy highlights in the High Country wilderness.
On the Half Dome Hiking expedition, we take a 5-mile backpack to the stunning Little Yosemite Valley where we setup a basecamp and embark on a day hike to the summit of this iconic granite monolith before returning to camp for a second night. It’s a great way to climb this world-renowned classic and spend a couple of nights camping in the backcountry.
Even our most challenging Yosemite trip – six days and 48 miles to the 11,150 foot Red Peak Pass, the highest point in the park accessible by trail – would not be John Muir’s idea of “roughing up.” Backpackers are accompanied by a licensed and medically trained guide, so safety is paramount at all times.
While Muir espoused the virtues of long periods of time in the wilderness on a meager diet, Four Seasons always has a generous supply of gourmet backcountry delights when attacking those steep ascents.
Delicious and nutritious meals are prepared in camp each night and morning by the guides. For those looking to achieve the same transcendence in the wilderness that Muir described in his writings it is informative to note that the naturalist did not live off the land – he neither hunted nor fished – and his typical state on backcountry travels was “hungry.” As a full grown man his weight dipped as low as 90 pounds. Austerity is not always a requirement for self-revelation.
Whether it was the 1860s or the 2010s the Yosemite has a way of filling your memory book. John Muir captured his in journals; today the waterfalls and granite peaks and crystalline lakes are memorialized in social media accounts.
Just because backpackers now gather in the many gastropubs and microbreweries that line the fringes of Yosemite National Park to recount their backpacking tour adventures, does not make them any less life-enriching than when they were shared over campfire coals and soda crackers. For that matter, if John Muir were around today he would be right in the middle of your celebration, probably dominating the conversation.