Vogelsang Peak, Yosemite National Park, California.
"Uphill, I think," I responded to the tightly wound ranger as we searched for an alternate, less smoke-laden trail than the initial trip I planned. It was July 22, 2018, almost ten days after the Ferguson Fire ignited adjacent to Yosemite National Park.
I received my wilderness permit some three months before in early April. I'm sure it took at least a month for me to learn how to navigate the online maps enough to decide a reasonable route for my first seven day solo backpacking trip. I spent months of planning, gathering equipment and supplies, and training my body to carry 30+ pounds on my back for this trip--I wasn't going to let a regional fire stop me from this exciting journey on the most renowned segment of the John Muir Trail (JMT) from the valley floor of Yosemite to Tuolomne Meadows.