170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail

Last year I set out to complete the John Muir Trail (JMT) with a twist.  I’d hike it barefoot.  Why?  Barefoot is simple.  Natural.  Intense.  Every step is an adventure.  But the terrain was more difficult than I expected.  Out of the JMT’s total distance of 211 miles, I completed 150 miles barefoot, or about 70%.

This year I came back determined to do the whole thing.

The following is an account of what happened, written with three audiences in mind.  First, of course, hardcore barefoot hikers looking for a challenge.  Second, conventional hikers.  Presumably these people do not wear boots to the beach, so therefore I thought they might enjoy going barefoot where the trails are soft and sandy, putting on shoes when rocks appear.  Call it a hybrid approach.  Third, I had in mind the woman I encountered last year, descending from Donahue Pass (11,066 feet).  She said her feet were so sensitive she couldn’t tolerate going barefoot in the bathroom.  She won’t try it, but I thought she might be curious what it’s like. Continue reading “170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail”

170 Miles Barefoot on the John Muir Trail