Brothers Peter and David Galsworthy had talked for a number of years of about the possibility of completing the John Muir Trail and decided after Christmas last year that 2010 was the year to try to fulfill this ambition. It was also decided to use the trek as a vehicle to raise funds for the Bhopal Medical Appeal in order to help pay a doctors salary for a period of time.
The John Muir Trail (JMT) is one of the world’s greatest treks and is North America’s best-known mid-distance walking trail. It runs 220 miles through the high Sierra Nevada mountains of California from Yosemite Valley in the north to the summit of Mount Whitney (14,496ft) above Lone Pine in the south.
The route is a largely a wilderness experience that intensifies as one progresses along the trail. Because of this, the trek needed careful planning well in advance to ensure that the appropriate National Park permits were obtained and a suitable food re-supply strategy worked out.
Peter and David had hoped to trek the John Muir Trail together. A problem arose when Peter pulled a leg muscle just before setting out from Yosemite and decided he could not risk the problem getting worse in the middle of the wilderness.
After careful consideration David decided to carry on with the trail and started out from Yosemite on the 10 August. David’s fears that he would feel along in the wilderness were not born out since the trail turned out to be a very social event for all those concerned and it was not long before the bonds of friendship were being formed with fellow hikers.
The Trail passed through truly astonishing scenery. It is a land of 13,000-14,000 foot peaks, of soaring granite cliffs, of lakes by the thousand and of canyons 5,000 feet deep. The trail climbs higher and higher as it gets further south, each day climbing to top of pass to then descending to the campsite to recover and sleep before the next day’s climb.
After a tough but wonderful 16 days on the trail dealing with sore feet and blisters, very cold nights and the extreme heat and light of the days, David reached the top of Mount Whitney and the end of the John Muir Trail. And not a single sighting of a bear!
David will be putting a full description of the epic journey on his website at http://bigwalksclub.co.uk soon and would be happy lend advice to anyone who is interested in doing the trail in the coming years.
Huge thanks to David, Peter, their mother and her church group, for their massive fundraising efforts; they have raised over £1000 to date. The brothers can still be sponsored through the JustGiving website.