Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of the Western United States

John Muir Wilderness

The Prettiest Place on the Planet

Last summer I was hunting for a surprise birthday present for my wife and stopped by the Mammoth Pack Outfit in Mammoth Lakes. I asked the owner, John Summers, which of his various trips he would suggest. After considerable thought he described a multi-day trip in what he considered to be "the prettiest place on the planet." Long story short, a few weeks later we were on the trail astride some of the very best mountain horses imaginable with two very competent packers and a string of pack mules loaded with all of our supplies.

John Muir Wilderness
John Muir Wilderness

We had not been on horses since our childhood and were a bit concerned about our skill level. Our guides quickly put us at ease recommending that we trust our mounts. Once on our way it quickly became evident that they were right - the horses were amazing in their ability to pick their way safely over some of the most challenging trails imaginable. During the five days we were out they never once failed us. The two packers that were with us turned out to be wonderful companions with great skills, wonderful stories, and a sincere interest in making our trip as pleasurable as possible.

John Muir Wilderness

Our first day out we rode west into the John Muir Wilderness for about seven hours to Jackson Meadows where we set up a base camp. We went over Duck Pass and passed numerous glacial lakes. The weather was stupendous and much of the time we were travelling just below tree line - the views stretched forever. To the north we could see all the way to Yosemite and to the south we gave up counting the rugged peaks of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Early in the trip we passed a few day hikers and going over Duck Pass we met two backpackers who intended to fish Duck Lake. After that we did not meet another soul all day long.

One of the packers prepared a delicious spaghetti feed (with garlic toast) for us that evening and we turned in early after munching on delicious brownies..

John Muir Wilderness

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