Another year passes and we find ourselves at summer's doorstep once more. California is fortunate to have year-round access to the outdoors -- but even in the land of never-ending exploration opportunities, summer affords special access to some of the most incredible places this state has on offer. Among these are the Sierra Nevada Mountains -- the Range of Light, as John Muir called it. At 400 miles long -- from Tehachapi Pass in Kern County, to Fredonyer Pass in Lassen County -- the Sierra is home to three national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon), 20 wilderness areas, and many other iconic features, including Lake Tahoe and Mount Whitney.
Many consider the John Muir Trail to be the crown jewel of this spectacular mountain range. Even a well-traveled buck like me would be hard pressed to find a land to match its awe-inspiring magnificence. And so, with summer here once again, we pay homage to this stunning 220-mile ribbon of trail in the hopes of inspiring others to breathe its therapeutic air, see its exhilirating sites and feel its recuperative effects.
E+J hiked the trail in 2015, documenting the experience in detail in this travelogue. But for this wily duo, the process of interpreting such a transformative experience is not complete without creating their own visual narrative -- hence the works presented in this latest show. Since a relative few make the trek, we attempt to bring the trail to you, showing you vignettes of the trail's many highlights.
Like all past dearantler exhibits, this one borrows its title from a Hitchcock film. As many who love the outdoors do, E+J make their home everywhere they go, approaching a strange and unexplored place and immediately becoming acquainted with it. Backpackers also enjoy the freedom of quickly and deeply connecting with fellow travelers in the backcountry -- skipping over the inhibitions and social norms that are second nature in the city. Instead, they bond over shared visceral experiences, as they automatically know that the strangers they just met have experienced many of the same challenges and rewards. I've heard this special relationship described this way: people you will encounter on the trail are just friends you haven't yet met. Strangers On A Trail honors the process of moving seamlessly from being a stranger to becoming a friend of people and land alike.