Preparing for my trip in July, I am rereading Muir’s major works, paying especial attention to certain things I will both specifically see (Yosemite features) and more general descriptions (bench lakes, high meadows) of which I will see only examples. Vernal and Nevada are two of the specifics that JMT hikers starting at HI will see, and may benefit greatly from Muir’s accounts of them. In The Yosemite, published in 1912, he gives a fairly detailed account of this section of the hike, looking closely at Vernal and Nevada, and the natural history around them. It is interesting that most of the features of today’s trails were in place in 1912, and we recognize them, including stone steps and iron rails. It is worth a detailed rereading of “Mountains of California” and “The Yosemite” before your trip, as the treasure of Muir’s observations and insights will inform and enrich your entire experience. Several passages, on these falls, Tuolumne, Lyell Canyon and Lyell Peak and Glacier (which closely track the JMT) will relate specifically and immmediately to your journey. It is well to pay close attention to these,as outside of Yosemite, Muirs specific descriptions and accounts of places along the JMT are few and far between. But relating Muir’s observations to yours of the specfic phenomena in the park is excellent training for seeing in other features along the route what Muirs describes more generically in is vast writings. For example, Muir discovered 65 glaciers in the High Sierrs, but only described three of them (one of which no longer exists) in his main writings. But you may recognize features and gain understanding that you may may apply to other examples you may find along your way.
Thanks, Peter. This is such a great comment that I want to make sure people see it. I’ve reposted it as a comment to the blog entry, not the photo.
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