Need something to push you over the edge and start planning a hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail? Thanks to San Francisco Chronicle technology columnist James Temple, here's a quick tease of the first 50 miles.
"The portion of the JMT I saw contained the most beautiful natural scenery I've ever encountered in real life," he said in a Chron blog post of the journey that began in the Yosemite Valley.
Even if you are in tip-top physical shape, the trip is no slam dunk, Temple warned. "It entailed months of reading guidebooks and maps, huffing and puffing up hills, searching for tolerable dehydrated food, buying lightweight gear, returning lightweight gear for ultralight gear, and casting about desperately for friends foolish enough to put up with all of the above."
You also have to obtain wilderness permits to cover camping along the trail and hiking in the Mount Whitney zone, where the trail ends atop the highest point in the continental U.S.
And by no means is Temple's video the only out there for inspiration. Casey Schreiner over the years has collected some on his blog Modern Hiker. One documents a group of high school students making the trek, and another is a beautiful trailer shot this summer for The Muir Project.
If you're going, plan for the summer months, when the trail is more likely to be clear of snow and rivers not aggressively swollen with snowmelt. Some good online references to start off your research are found at the Pacific Crest Trail Association (the majority of the JMT is actually on the PCT) and The Complete Guide to the John Muir Trail.