Scenic USA - California

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of historic sites, points of interest, and a large
sampling of America's parklands. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
For further detailed information, links to other related sites are provided, but in no means should they be considered an endorsement.


Sawmill Sunset

Sawmill Sunset - John Muir Trail, California

Photos by Rob Jones
Wilderness Vagabond Trip Reports

     Often, during one's mid-life years, a teen dream of living forever silently fades, replaced by visions of a finite life. Call it a realization or a midlife awakening, but the fact remains, Pikathoughts seem to scatter around leaving this world, plus the idea of making the most of one's later years. Whether it comes on gradually or marked by one milestone on a calendar, reactions range from buying a dream sports car to quitting a mundane job. Occasionally, some take up the ambitious dream of saving the planet.
     Lately, more and more mid-lifers choose to sample our dwindling wilderness lands before they disappear or become paved with asphalt. Armed with some of the latest lightweight equipment and attire, and an armload of electronic tracking and communication devises, Americans are headed into the wilds in record numbers. Understanding environmental impacts, wilderness use guidelines and backcountry etiquette Yellow-bellied Marmotshould be paramount. Abuses only lead to more regulations and park closures.
     Here on the John Muir Trail, we continue to follow our backcountry vagabonds as they head through the upper reaches of Kings Canyon National Park. There are no roads in this wilderness setting, and hikers are miles from Owens Valley and civilization. Southward ho! Through the upper basin to Pinchot Pass (12,130 feet), where the trail has faded to a faint path. A plump yellow-bellied marmot keeps the wildflowers trimmed, while a small pika amuses this council of wilderness explorers. At day’s end, the hiking contingent is further rewarded with a Sierra Sawmill Sunset.



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