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What comes to mind when you hear “John Muir Trail”? For us, it evokes images of glacial tarns and alpine meadows, of switchbacks that literally lead us into the clouds. The granite amphitheaters seem perfectly composed with grassy hummocks and craggy benches that have a way of lingering in our minds. Like stepping into a great cathedral, these sacred spaces demand our silence and awe as we pass quietly through them.While on the trail, our senses heighten to take in extraordinary details, so even the smallest movement creates a stir impossible to ignore. Suddenly one’s existence with a group of fellow travelers creates a bond that outlasts a lifetime of days back home. Even our sense of time begins to shift and becomes less relevant as we focus more on the barest of essentials: How many miles until our next water source? Where will we camp for the night? and of course… What’s for dinner?
Hiking a long trail such as the JMT offers a simplicity that is all but extinct from any modern way of life. Reducing our needs and desires to what we can carry on our back offers the “freedom of the hills” that is impossible to fabricate anywhere but in the backcountry. We can come away from our experience with photographs, but what imprints on our minds and souls is beyond a combination of pixels that are quickly uploaded to social media for mass consumption. Memories from the trail fill our minds through the fall, winter, and spring until our bodies grow restless. Our curiosity for what may be over that next ridge, just beyond our view nags at us. We are desperate to get back out on the trail!

This longing for exploration, for both sights unseen and the familiar trails we love, is what SYMG is about. This summer SYMG is excited to announce a several expeditions specifically designed to meet a variety of travel windows. One that deserves special mention is our NEW 26-Day John Muir Trail that completes 99% of the trail. Of course we also feature outings that can be completed within a week such as the Rae Lakes Loop deep in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. Join us in 2019 to realize your JMT dream with SYMG!

All images courtesy of SYMG Guide Chris Plewa