Technically, this should have been the last JMT blog post, but due to the fact I wanted to post something right after the trip, and what came to mind was contemplative and in the moment. The actual hiking chronology are JMT blog posts #5-12.
I Having just completed backpacking the John Muir Trail in the California Sierras, I’m traveling by bus, train, and bus to Sacramento, CA., for a flight home.
The Amtrak train stopped to allow a freight train to pass in the opposite direction. Freight has priority in the U.S., and it’s a safety precaution given our antiquated rail system. My understanding anyway.
As we sat, paused in time, I couldn’t help but think about the people living across the street from where we parked for 5 minutes. who are they? What is their day like? Do they like where they live?
I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own universe, we can easily think our reality is the reality of others. In train car #1, a young man in front of me studies something chemistry (guessing). Something about hydrogen’s effect on atoms. Now he’s pulled up learning Python. Computer coding. Way above my head! A couple nearby chats about nothing. A baby cries. A few riders are asleep. Others, like me, have their heads buried in their phones. The a/c hums along and the train clacks lightly and rocks us gently. It’s nearing golden hour… that last hour of daylight. Everyone is marked up!
Across the tracks from residential homes is a small cattle farm with 30 or so head of cattle. An orchard. The train is moving now and we pass by a tapestry of corn fields, orchards, farmland, homes, and commercial/industrial areas.
The land is more or less, dead flat. Clear skies but hazy. It’s cool inside, but hot outside.
The train is approaching Stockton where I’ll disembark for a bus and the final hour to Sacramento.
So what’s this all have to do with a song by the Beetles? Nothing more than to symbolize how the place (city, town, locale) we live, may unconsciously seal us away from experiencing the rest of the ocean. Does it protect us from harm, or restrict us from being able to understand the world beyond?
On trail, more often than not, solo backpackers and groups have a kinship and commonality that fosters engagement. In society, it seems, we become overwhelmed by the sheer mass and diversity. We retreat to our place, we embody the cold, steel, yellow hull, whether physically or virtually.
For now. That’s all my brain can muster. Mostly some random thoughts before diving into writing about the JMT hike.
I did get two books at the Ansel Adams gallery in Yosemite. I’ve always wanted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Art & Fear seemed interesting. I’m a few pages in and like it.