John Muir Trail

How the John Muir Trail taught me why tearing my ACL was the best thing that happened to me.

The John Muir Trail is a through hike that goes right through the heart of the Sierra Nevadas in California. I hiked it southbound with my awesome and super relaxed hiking buddy Derek in the summer of 2017. Our route started just south of Mt. Whitney and ended in Yosemite Valley.  Over the 250 miles , there is over 38,000ft of elevation gain and 47,000ft of elevation loss, with 9 passes above 10,500ft.

But this story starts back in 2016 when I tore my ACL and meniscus skiing. When it happened I wasn’t all that surprised. As a skier I almost see it as a right of passage. I mean when you think about the frequency of skiers tearing their ACL, combined with skiing 100 plus days a year, it’s just statistics that at some point you will blow your knee. And now after everything I learned (about my body, life and manifesting) from the injury I am definitely not surprised it happened when it did.

Before I injured my knee, I was a cold hard believer in science and the power of facts. I,after all studied geology in college, which uses data to prove things. This also meant that I was a skeptic when it comes to miracles and magic.  I was a “see it to believe it” kind of gal rather than a “believe it to see it”. And I definitely didn’t believe in manifesting.But right before I blew my knee, I was living in a basement apartment that required going down treacherous ice covered rock steps. When I would walk on the steps, I kept thinking to myself, “if I get injured I will be so freaking screwed.” Especially since my apartment isn’t walking distance to a bus stop or anything for that matter and my car is a stick shift that requires both legs to drive. These were the the thoughts occupying my brain that ski season and I ended up attracting what I was thinking.

I didn’t put this together until months later while recovering on the couch. It honestly freaked me out a bit. Before this moment the only concrete manifesting I had ever witnessed was through my dad and happen to be related to skiing.

Growing up my dad and I spent our weekends (and pow days) driving to the ski valley and skiing all day. When we passed the Taos Ski Valley welcome sign my dad would start visualizing a close parking spot. He would say “there is going to be one right here,” as we passed the guard shack and sure enough when we turned the corner there would be an open spot. It is part of my dad’s routine to never take the shuttle. He explains that walking up to the base gives our legs and hearts a chance to warm up, so we are not so stiff when we start skiing. Walking to the base however, was a lot easier when we parked closer, so manifesting a close parking spot was also part of his routine.

The other time I was exposed to manifesting was on my birthday one year in high school. My birthday is in March, prime spring skiing time, which also happens to be the time the Hornitos bus decided to show up and throw a party in town. My dad was out with his friends at this party, where there was a raffle. If you buy a shot of Hornitos, you will be entered to win an awesome Hornitos Snowboard. My dad decided that he was going to win that board for me for my birthday. And now that board is an epic part of my snow shrine.

Besides these two instances (that I only viewed as manifestation later after I had learned more) I had never been exposed to manifesting. But now that I had first hand experience with its power, I decided to look into it and see what I could find. I ended up listening to an audiobook called You Are A Badass by Jen sincero, which explains the connection between positive thinking and manifesting in a highly relatable way.

However before I could really start believing in the powers of manifesting, I had to repeat my findings and to make sure it was the real deal.

By the end of the summer after I tore my ACL, my stride was still a bit off, but I had at least started  hiking and getting after it again. It was right around this time that my new friend Derek started planning his trip to hike the John Muir Trail and asked if I wanted join. I had never heard of this trail and so he had to explain to me that the John Muir Trail is a  200 plus mile through hike in the Sierra Nevadas. I had very limited backpacking experience at this point, but decided that I was going to do it, calling upon some of the new manifesting skills I had picked up. This was my test trial with manifesting. I was scared shitless, not sure what I had gotten myself into. But I decided that if I came out of this feeling like it was a positive experience, then I could truly believe in the powers of manifesting.

The first thing I did, (just like my dad) was to decide I was doing the John Muir Trail. I told everybody I was doing it so I would be too embarrassed to back out. Once summer came around I bought all the gear I needed and started hiking. I was so nervous the hike was going to kill me, that I hiked 200 plus miles before in the months preceding in preparation.

When it came time to head out to California, our group of 4 had dwindled down to just the two of us. We parked our cars in the proper places and dropped our resupply off and headed into the mountains. It took me a couple of days to get adjusted, but after that we settled into a routine and before I knew it we were in Yosemite Valley, walking the final steps.

When I jumped into the car, that was taking us back to Derek’s truck, yes I was exhausted, but also buzzing. I did it. I was now confident in my ability to do things that seem out of my current ability levels, as long as I put in the time and effort. By completing the the trail, I went from being a “seeing is believing” kind of gal to a “believing is seeing” kind of gal.  

Here are the pictures from my journey back packing in the mountains for 22 days. 

Watching the Sunrise on Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental US, at 14,505ft 

Views hiking down from Mt. Whitney

Wild Mountain Flowers from the trail

Garnet Lake 

Devils Postpile National Monument

We got to hike with some awesome people! 

Met up with Jenna and Tyler (from Grand Junction Colorado) right before we got to Yosemite and finished the hike with them. They were hiking the John Muir Trail as their HoneyMoon ! Talk about badass.

Sunset for our last night of the trail. Before our second Alpine start of the trail. 

Hiked /climbed up Half Dome in the dark to watch our last sunrise from the top. 

And then descended 4,800 ft down to the Yosemite Valley to finish the trail!