Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Summit to Mt. Whitney

7 months of training. 7 months of strenuous activity on the body. 7 months of building a stronger relationship with a little bit of bickering and growing pains along the way. 7 months of love blossoming.

It all came together yesterday.

We arose at 2am, grabbed our packs, and headed to the trailhead. After a bit of fumbling around, lacing our boots, and double checking that we were 110% prepared, we hit the ground running at 3:17am. The sky was pitch black with sprinkled stars up above. A planet (Mercury or Mars perhaps) shone down upon us. Our headlamps played tricks with our eyes causing me to believe tree branches and giant rocks were some sort of new animal species. 3.5 miles were complete within an hour and twenty-three minutes. We passed through quiet streams and creeks that whispered to us. We almost fell into Lone Pine Lake due to a minor wrong turn. The Lord's playground was comparable to a jungle gym.

As the sun peaked out over the mountains, we were already to the meadows. The temperature dropped drastically causing layer upon layer to be added as we continued to hurry along the trail. By Trail Camp, we were in need of refueling with water from the nearby lake. Our only real dilemma of the trip: a botched Steripen. (*attention fellow hikers, if the temp. is below 32 degrees the darn thing will NOT work). After this minor incident, we journeyed up the switchbacks and on over to the last 1.9 miles.

Now when you see a sign that says 1.9 miles and you have completed 9.1, you think this oughta be a piece of cake. Ha ha ha. False. The last 1.9 miles seemed like an eternity literally. The winds were roaring, and I am surprised that my fingers did not fall off from frostbite. I may have said a few choice words under my breath...

Frostbite or none, the views from the top were worth it. Amazing. We could see the whole world or so it felt that way. I honestly bet I was able to view the lands of New Mexico, Nevada, & Arizona from Mt. Whitney's peak.

After a few tears, rearranging clothing, and sharing a sammy, we began our descent. And boy were we on a mission. We hurried through the gusting winds on the 1.9 miles which seemed far less on the way down. Rounding the John Muir Trail point, we scurried down the switchbacks to the campsite. I am happy to report that the weather coming down was far better than on the way up. It was just right as I was able to bronze myself without being scorching hot.

With the sun beaming brightly down, we were able to see the multitude of ecosystems that the morning darkness prohibited. We saw meadows, wetlands, deserts, and much more on our trek home. All of it was breathtaking.

In a little under 13 hours, the love of my life and I completed the most challenging and amazing accomplishment of our 27/29 years. And the best part was that we were able to do it together. Without one another, the encouraging words, the pushing in times of doubt, neither of us could have completed such a daunting task. But together, we were successful.

For a glimpse at the beauty, see pics below!

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