Project Description

JMT Standing Stone Marker

 

OBJECTIVE: The Conservancy would like to
commemorate the “Authentic JMT Route”
with a Standing Stone marker in Yosemite Valley.

JMT Standing Stone Marker

OBJECTIVE: The Conservancy would like to commemorate the “Authentic JMT Route” with a Standing Stone marker
in Yosemite Valley.

Most national scenic trails have a marker erected at the starting and ending points of the trail. Photographs of high country backpackers, Yosemite Valley day hikers or park visitors are a fitting way to record these moments. Along with a bronze plaque that would provide a brief narrative of the JMT’s history, such a trail marker would signify the promise of adventures that lie ahead.

We at the JMT Wilderness Conservancy believe that the John Muir Trail , the oldest recreational trail in American history, deserves this kind of permanent recognition. The Standing Stone marker should be placed in a location consistent with the history and spirit of the JMT, somewhere in the vicinity of the LeConte Memorial Lodge (the “Lodge”), a National Historic Landmark, now called the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center.

Over the century-long history of the JMT, people have chosen to start out on the trail from several different places. In order to determine an historically authentic starting point in today’s Yosemite Valley, we consulted a number of historic sources, including early editions of the Starr’s Guide to the John Muir Trail, various maps made during exploration and trail construction, and many articles and journals that were published over the early decades of the trail’s use. In the end, the Conservancy chose to honor the spirit of the JMT’s route by deferring to the guidance of William Colby in his 1961 interview by Hal Roth and the 1943 Starr Jr. Guide, both of which fixed the starting point of the JMT at the Lodge.

For nearly 30 years, Colby dedicated his time to overseeing the JMT’s construction and personally organized and lead numerous summer High Trips leading to the JMT. Many of the early hikers gathered with Colby’s leadership, typically supported by mule and horse teams, before setting out to hike the JMT along the Merced River, past Vernal and Nevada Falls, onward towards Tuolumne Meadows and into the JMT Backcountry. Colby was the last living connection to the JMT who recorded his views on this issue. We believe it is highly appropriate to defer to that voice.

The “YCHC” Lodge was constructed originally at the base of Glacier Point in Curry Village and was dedicated on July 3, 1904. Its design reflected its impressive surroundings, with the steep granite valley walls and the muted natural palette of Yosemite’s Lodgepole Pine trees. The architecture is categorized as Tudor Revival in style, featuring a steep-pitched gable roof, local Yosemite granite laid in a rough-course ashlar pattern, exposed interior hammer beams and scissor trusses. In 1919, it was moved westward to its current location across from Housekeeping Camp, where a young Ansel Adams served as its first summer custodian. In 1987 the structure was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior, signifying its importance in the nation’s history in the national parks and conservation movements.

So it seems most fitting to mark this spot as the John Muir Trail’s authentic starting point. For this standing stone we chose a natural-cleft Sierra White granite, a favorite indigenous stone of early Sierra Club members and JMT explorers. Such monolithic stones have been used by people over the ages in many places around the globe to note the mystical connection between humanity and the planet. Hiking trails across the country are marked with stones as an enduring guide to their route. Many people buried in Yosemite Cemetery used such stones as their burial headstones, an abiding symbol of their lifelong passion for Yosemite and the entire Sierra Nevada.

Please help us to quarry, carve and install this John Muir Trail “Standing Stone” Termini Marker near the YCHC Lodge in Yosemite Valley.

                                   VIEW ALL PROJECTS

Most national scenic trails have a marker erected at the starting and ending points of the trail. Photographs of high country backpackers, Yosemite Valley day hikers or park visitors are a fitting way to record these moments. Along with a bronze plaque that would provide a brief narrative of the JMT’s history, such a trail marker would signify the promise of adventures that lie ahead.

We at the JMT Wilderness Conservancy believe that the John Muir Trail , the oldest recreational trail in American history, deserves this kind of permanent recognition. The Standing Stone marker should be placed in a location consistent with the history and spirit of the JMT, somewhere in the vicinity of the LeConte Memorial Lodge (the “Lodge”), a National Historic Landmark, now called the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center.

Over the century-long history of the JMT, people have chosen to start out on the trail from several different places. In order to determine an historically authentic starting point in today’s Yosemite Valley, we consulted a number of historic sources, including early editions of the Starr’s Guide to the John Muir Trail, various maps made during exploration and trail construction, and many articles and journals that were published over the early decades of the trail’s use. In the end, the Conservancy chose to honor the spirit of the JMT’s route by deferring to the guidance of William Colby in his 1961 interview by Hal Roth and the 1943 Starr Jr. Guide, both of which fixed the starting point of the JMT at the Lodge.

For nearly 30 years, Colby dedicated his time to overseeing the JMT’s construction and personally organized and lead numerous summer High Trips leading to the JMT. Many of the early hikers gathered with Colby’s leadership, typically supported by mule and horse teams, before setting out to hike the JMT along the Merced River, past Vernal and Nevada Falls, onward towards Tuolumne Meadows and into the JMT Backcountry. Colby was the last living connection to the JMT who recorded his views on this issue. We believe it is highly appropriate to defer to that voice.

The “YCHC” Lodge was constructed originally at the base of Glacier Point in Curry Village and was dedicated on July 3, 1904. Its design reflected its impressive surroundings, with the steep granite valley walls and the muted natural palette of Yosemite’s Lodgepole Pine trees. The architecture is categorized as Tudor Revival in style, featuring a steep-pitched gable roof, local Yosemite granite laid in a rough-course ashlar pattern, exposed interior hammer beams and scissor trusses. In 1919, it was moved westward to its current location across from Housekeeping Camp, where a young Ansel Adams served as its first summer custodian. In 1987 the structure was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior, signifying its importance in the nation’s history in the national parks and conservation movements.

So it seems most fitting to mark this spot as the John Muir Trail’s authentic starting point. For this standing stone we chose a natural-cleft Sierra White granite, a favorite indigenous stone of early Sierra Club members and JMT explorers. Such monolithic stones have been used by people over the ages in many places around the globe to note the mystical connection between humanity and the planet. Hiking trails across the country are marked with stones as an enduring guide to their route. Many people buried in Yosemite Cemetery used such stones as their burial headstones, an abiding symbol of their lifelong passion for Yosemite and the entire Sierra Nevada.

Please help us to quarry, carve and install this John Muir Trail “Standing Stone” Termini Marker near the YCHC Lodge in Yosemite Valley.

                           VIEW ALL PROJECTS