My hiking fascination has slowly been growing and it’s been such a treat to explore California. Last year I heard about an awesome “to do” hike.
Mount Whitney, that damn beast of a beauty.
It would require enrolling into the lottery in hopes to get a permit with National Park rec site. Well… I tried and I got my rejection email notification a few weeks later. My disappointment was short lived as a friend was able to obtain a few of them. Group hike? Heck yes! It would mean doing an extreme 1-day hike to the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet. I was worried about acclimating since the highest point I had been at was San Gorgonio @ 11,499 ft.
well hotdamn, Last Thursday night I drove out to Whitney Portal camp grounds just after work. 4 hours later, we arrived to a camp site. Just enough time to catch some zzz’s at midnight and wake up @ 2:30 am (wahoo! oye). After making coffee with my jet boiler and packing up my day-pack I was ready to go. I was just too damn excited and wanted to get the ball rollin’. 9 of us started the trail at 4:15 am. All that was visible was the gorgeous mountain ridges glowing by the full moon and white little head-lamps by the hikers slowly making their climb up. As we rose up the mountain the scene began to take different forms, temperatures began to drop and the sky began to turn blue. By about 9 am we reached the famous 99-switchbacks. We packed on our energy food and went up not losing momentum. Slowly one by one we made it to the top ridge and my lungs feeling super tight. I didn’t feel nauseous but I definitely felt like a space cadet due to the elevation. Another challenge was completing our last 1.9 mile stretch to summit. It was definitely harder to focus with all those rocks and bone chilling wind trying to knocking me down. After a few hours of that I could spot the Sierra hut root top and my heart leaped.
Mind over matter.
Just a few feet from arrival I told myself I wouldn’t cry but dammit I cried. It was such a cool feeling to be up on top of my lil’ California world. It was amazing feat for me. We chilled for about an hour to refuel. I ran-walked down the first part because my body couldn’t get warm enough. After completing our switchback descent we thought we were home free BUT failed to realize that we had a good 4 hours left. So instead, we took our time to admire the view, collect fresh water and just take in the atmosphere as much as we could. I had my ipod on hand but never once needed it. We were so far away from internet pollution, noise pollution, social pollution. We were just breathing in what we had in front of us and it felt refreshing! We arrived back down at the Whitney portal campground 14 hours later @ 6 pm. A beer and fries was called upon. My body super tired but my heart and mind felt great.
It was an amazing journey and I was so thankful I was healthy enough to complete it. Here’s to another one!