If you’re like me, you’ve gotten plenty of emails that look like this recently:
This is the email Yosemite sends when you don’t get a permit for the John Muir trail. I’ve got 19 of them sitting in my inbox, and will probably get another one this afternoon. I have 16 chances left to get a permit for the John Muir Trail, and Sunday’s submission marks the start of our “ideal” window, where we’ll get a bonus vacation day off because of Labor Day. We can’t do the trail late in September because of a work event, so I have a true hard stop deadline for the JMT. I’ve seen lots of others get their permits for the JMT, when I’ve come up empty handed. And that’s okay.
When I look at the Yahoo group or Facebook groups for the JMT, I see the panic that some people have about getting their permits. Yes, I want to hike the JMT because it’s a classic trail in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I like that every day on the trail is different and that hikers don’t cross a road for hundreds of miles. But there are other places that can be done too, with equally beautiful views. I will be disappointed if, come March 14th, I get my 36th permit rejection, but then it’s time to submit for Wonderland Trail permits! And if that doesn’t work, that’s okay too.