In the Footsteps of John Muir: Finding Solitude in the High Sierra

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

I’m slogging up a long ramp of beach-like sand toward Cox Col, an off-trail pass sitting a few ticks over 13,000 feet in California’s John Muir Wilderness. The high-altitude sun feels like a blacksmith’s forge hovering right above my head. My breaths come faster than my steps, and I feel lightheaded. But I’m thinking mostly about the pass ahead of us—and whether there’s a safe route over it.

My friend Jason Kauffman and I are on a 32.2-mile, three-day traverse of one of the highest, harshest, and most achingly gorgeous strips of the High Sierra, from North Lake, outside Bishop, to Mosquito Flat, between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

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Grand Canyon Hiker