This book, which won the Best Outdoor Book Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of California in 2016, is a lively account of one woman’s adventure on the John Muir Trail. It is a must-read for those who plan to hike the trail or anyone interested in the trail. Written in journal style, the author’s description of the majestic scenery, camaraderie of trail friends and challenges of the terrain are engaging and informative. Along the way hikers of all ages, but especially mature hikers, will see how she and her husband met challenges head-on, lightened their load, planned meals and managed daily logistics for more than three weeks on the trail. Written for those planning to hike the John Muir Trail, Sierra hiking veterans who want to relive the trail and armchair adventurers this is a story that brings the trail to life.

A long hike has its ups and downs, both literally and figuratively, and the elevation changes on the John Muir Trail are legendary. With 84,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, more than twice the elevation of Mt. Everest, this popular trek shares a section of the Pacific Crest Trail widely considered to be the most picturesque and arduous. Photographs in each chapter illustrate the trek.
Read the first chapter here!

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Praise for Highs and Lows on the John Muir Trail

#1 Best Seller in Amazon Hiking and Camping Excursion Guides!

“The current popularity of long-distance walking means that many new personal narratives have appeared in the past years. Inga Aksamit’s book is a wonderful addition to these “trail tales,” as she describes the 23-day trip she and her husband took along the John Muir Trail. Readers will especially be drawn to this narrative … because it represents the experience of an “everyday” person. She and her husband set out on the JMT to challenge themselves with a much longer backcountry adventure than they’d previously completed and to experience the changing perspective one has after multiple weeks in the backcountry….Her extensive planning made her aware of all the problems that might arise – she does a superb job of weaving these into her story, one-by-one as many of the anticipated problems do materialize.”

-Elizabeth Wenk, author of “John Muir Trail: The Essential Guide to Hiking America’s Most Famous Trail”

“As hikers we are all about preparation. We read all the trail guides, agonize over gear decisions, scrutinize every calorie we carry and look to shave ounces here and there. Particularly for hikers who are new to multi-week hikes, we show up at the trailhead with the right stuff, but not necessarily fully prepared. What about the “inside game” of a long hike? I can think of no better way to prepare oneself for the psychological rigors of the trail than by reading Ms. Aksamit’s “Highs and Lows on the John Muir Trail.” From unforeseen medical problems to the struggle to eat enough to the challenges of the near constant climbing, Ms. Aksamit tells her story with refreshing honesty and candor. By reading this book, potential JMT hikers will get the insights necessary to ensure that they are ready with the right attitude and expectations to ensure success.”

-Raymond E. Rippel, author of “Planning your Thru-Hike of the John Muir Trail” 

As a long distance backpacker myself, Aksamit’s book detailing her journey on the JMT resonated strongly with me…. This book is a welcome addition to the limited selection of JMT literature….

-Michelle “Brownie” Pugh: Author of “Love at First Hike” & Appalachian Trail thru-hiker

The book is quick paced and always interesting…. Ms. Aksamit’s descriptions of the scenery, of the other hikers, of her interactions, are so well written that I felt like I was right there with her.

-B.A.M., Amazon review

I love the descriptions of the people they met along the trip and the surprises that unfold with these fellow hikers….I found the book to be very inspiring …. The author conveys the different emotions she feels as the trip progresses, which brings the book alive.

-L.H., Amazon review

Inga’s book contains many enjoyable trail tales and practical advice. Also she lets readers in on the emotional side of her journey, something many hikers are the least prepared for.

-A.J., Amazon review

Real and inspiring!

R.N., Amazon review

Published by Pacific Adventures Press.