Retracing Muir’s Footsteps on the North Rim
By John P. DeGrazio
It’s not every day you get to follow a legend. This past week I had the opportunity to follow the path of the greatest Yosemite legend of all time, John Muir. It’s only fitting that we honor him on what would have been his 177th birthday today, April 21.
John Muir wrote about his adventures in many books. In “My First Summer in the Sierra” he eloquently shared:
“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”
During that first summer, Muir took a job herding sheep through wilderness above Yosemite State Park in 1869. The wilderness Muir roamed was unprotected at the time. This summer trip changed his life forever, and he dedicated the rest of his time adventuring in and later protecting the American West. Thanks mainly to his efforts, the area surrounding the Valley is now part of Yosemite National Park (established Oct. 1, 1890).
I relish every chance I have to wander on that very same North Rim of Yosemite Valley and had the good fortune to lead a private 4 Day Yosemite backpacking trip there this past week. Muir’s words were in my head as we danced from peak to peak in no particular hurry. It is a feeling of ultimate freedom and one I encourage everyone on this earth to experience. I know my photos won’t represent these landscapes with any justice, but I will share them anyway.
I owe my professional life to trailblazers like John Muir and am forever in his debt. For that, I will always honor his spirit, his teachings, and his legacy. Happy birthday John of the Mountains. Thank you for the gifts you left for us all.