Day 61: On Top Of The Lower 48

Date: June 9, 2017
Miles: Guitar Lake to summit of Mt. Whitney, then back to mile .8 on Mt. Whitney Trail. 

* Warning – there is one definitely NSFW pic in this post. But it’s funny. *

I slept horribly last night. I don’t know if it was the anticipation of the Mt. Whitney climb today or the elevation. I should have slept well…I was in the most comfortable, warm spot in my quilt and I was exhausted from yesterday’s hike. But I tossed and turned until 3 am, when I got up and got ready to leave camp at 4. Despite not sleeping, though, I felt good.

 The first couple hours of the hike was on consolidated snow under a full moon. 

The rest of the climb was a temperate grade, with some scrambling and a couple snow patches, up to a very windy summit at 14,505 feet.  

We stayed on the summit long enough for Roi and Connor to have their picture taken triumphantly au natural and then we quickly headed back down the mountain to get out of the constant wind. 

The girl sitting by the hut got more of a view than she expected today!

We had nap time at camp, then packed up and headed a few miles toward the PCT to camp near the creek by the Crabtree Meadow Ranger station.  

Katie finally got the trail name Shortcut because of her affinity for cutting switchbacks and for finding a more straightforward way of getting from point A to B. As we rehydrated our dinners, we talked about all of the high fat foods with which we could try to put some weight on our bones again…honey buns with butter on them came out as a clear favorite and we all swore we would fill our bear cans with those the next time we resupplied. Food is a frequent topic of conversation, especially this week when we’re all burning so many more calories and feeling hunger pangs most of the day. 

We all went to bed at 6:45 pm to the sound of a helicopter circling through the Meadow several times, hoping it was a training exercise and not a search and rescue.  (Note: We heard a few days later that the helicopter was there to pick up our friend Gummies who developed pulmonary edema from the altitude. He has since recovered, for which I am grateful. It’s also a good example of why hikers should carry locator beacons like the Spot or the InReach…it’s a good thing he did!) 

The summit of Mt. Whitney.