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Yosemite, Ansel Adams Wilderness, John Muir Trail and Death Valley Trip Teaser

Banner Peak from Thousand Island Lake

In late July 2009 I went on a backpacking trip along the John Muir Trail with two friends. It was originally planned to go from Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park to Reds Meadow Campground. Unfortunately, due to factors beyond our control we had to start our trip from a different trailhead resulting in less than half of the trip being on the John Muir Trail.

Although this trip did not have any significant bushwhacking component I thought I would break from tradition for once to describe a trip outside my usual stomping grounds in the Adirondacks.

The trip required flying to Las Vegas, and driving to Yosemite National Park where we stayed at Tuolumne Meadows Campground for two nights while acclimating to the elevation and going on a whirlwind tour of some of the more touristy places in the Park.

The highlights within the Park included the view of Tuolumne Meadows from Lembert Dome, the beaches of Tenaya Lake, the massive Sequoias of Tuolumne Grove and the hustle and bustle of the ever-busy Yosemite_Valley.

The acclimation within the Park was followed by a five day backpacking trip most of which was within the Ansel Adams Wilderness. About a third of the trip was along the John Muir Trail from Thousand Island Lake to Red Meadows.

The last major part of the trip was a quick auto-tour through Death Valley National Park while on the way back to Las Vegas. The highlights of Death Valley included The Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells, Badwater Basin (the lowest elevation in the United States), Artist’s Drive and Zabriskie Point.

Me at Zabriskie Point

The final night of our trip was spent in Las Vegas at the Luxor. Needless to say after a week of wide-open spaces the culture shock was quite intense.

Over the next several posts I will describe the highlights of the trip as I remember them. This may include an aside post or two (e.g. how to pack hiking gear for an airplane flight) along the way. Probably the first post will involve the trip out there and the time we spent in the park, followed by 5 posts one for each of the days on the hike and ending with a single post-hike, Death Valley automobile tour, night in Vegas post.

I hope you enjoy reading about this trip as much as I enjoyed taking it.

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