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So – here’s the thing. This is a little different from most of the tracking I do. I mean it’s the great outdoors. I’m kind of a city tracker. Now, there are some very committed people who have followed the exact routeJohn Muir took on his first foray into Yosemite in 1868, when he walked from San Francisco to Yosemite. And there’s a guy – John Fiske – who, back in 1985, tracked all the campsites where Muir slept on his second trip to the park – in 1869, which he recorded in My First Summer in the Sierra. All that’s cool but that was not my plan. I intended to do what I always do – extract the most relevant locations mentioned in the book, find them, see what they look like and assemble the most interesting ones into a literary tour. I wanted to start in the town Muir named at the beginning of My First Summer in the Sierra and follow his path all the way to Mono Desert. I did this on several little trips around and into the park.  On one – I hired a guide – Kris Cory – who is well versed on Muir’s travels in the Gold Country. We met in Coulterville and bopped from one location to the next. Inside the park, it was a little easier. – we followed the hordes of tourists from one well-marked location to another.

Gold Country

French Bar

The Foothills

Horseshoe Bend

Penon Blanco


Greeley Mill

Camp Four

Bower Cave

Camp Five

Altar Rock


The Gold Rush proved to be fatal to the hold the Ahwahneechee Indians had on Yosemite. It brought white settlers into the area and after what was called the Mariposa Wars – the Mariposa Battalion moved the Indians out of the park.  That was in the early 1850’s. When John Muir trekked into Yosemite on his second trip in 1869 – the trek he wrote about in My First Summer in the Sierra, there was an established route from Hazel Green all the way to Mono Lake.

Hazel Green

Crane Flat

Tamarack Flat


Tenaya Lake

Mount Hoffman

Tuolumne Meadow

Soda Springs

Cathedral Peak

Bloody Canyon

Lee Vining

Mono Lake

Yosemite Valley Floor

Valley Floor Hotel

Vernal Fall

Nevada Fall

North Dome

Indian Canyon

Yosemite Fall

My First Summer In the Sierra Points of Interest

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