A Guide to Hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Author's Note

I am a distant cousin of John Burroughs, the 19th-century naturalist who was a contemporary of John Muir and joined him to promote nature as something to be treasured and preserved, not trampled on and exploited. The idea of setting aside national parks and pristine wilderness areas is taken for granted today; it was revolutionary 100 years ago.

Like Muir, Burroughs was a dedicated hiker. The two men traveled to Alaska together. But Burroughs mainly walked through the Catskill Mountains of New York State, near where he was born. I am fortunate to live close to the Catskills myself, and have spent many hours hiking the mountains and valleys where Rip Van Winkle is said to have rambled. These mountains aren't as spectacular as the Sierras, of course. But as all hikers know, getting into the woods and away from civilization is as important as any panorama.

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