On Top of Mt. Whitney, Looking down at Whitney Portal and Lone Pine.
Day 19 of JMT Revisited (July 11, 2004)
This is the last entry in this log. I am actually writing this entry the day after, in my waterbed.
We woke up about 6:00 am. We intended to cook the desert for breakfast, but we were too excited to get going. But we did have some oatmeal. Also, the guy that we met 16 days ago came over and offered us food – hot chocolate, jerky, and trail mix. Nice.
We were off at 7:15; lots and lots of very long switchbacks. I got to the trail junction at 8:55 am. The boys were waiting for me. They left for the top almost immediately after I caught up. I rested for about 10 minutes, and started off too. We left our packs at the junction.
I made the top of Whitney at 10:15 am!! We took many pictures. We looked for Peggy’s note in the log, but could not find it. Peggy is my neighbor who said she was going to be there a week before us. We passed a lot of people on the way up. The family that stayed next to us the night before passed us in the opposite direction right before the top (they had started at 4:30 am!!).
On the top it was beautiful. No clouds anywhere. Seemed like we could see for hundreds of miles. I got back to the packs at about 11:45 am. At this point I had about three-quarters of a bottle of water. I put my pack on and raced down. Almost running for much of the way. I passed lots and lots of hikers going in both directions. I passed the family who left at 4:30 am. When I passed the last two kids of that family, I told the kids about the short cut trail that you can take on the way down to the portal.
I lacked water. I didn’t know that I actually had the pump (I had looked for it but didn’t find it). I filled one bottle with snow, and after running out of water, on the 99 switchbacks. I then ate snow every so often.
Near the bottom, with only 30 minutes of hiking left to do, I fell and both of my legs cramped really bad. I had been hiking/running for almost three hours without water or a break. Sure enough, I tripped over a rock and both legs locked in cramps, and I had to lay flat for about 15 minutes, while eating all the rest of the snow.
Soon after that, I found the short cut trail, and started down again, and ran into two guys that seemed interested in my story. Got going again and after a short time later found a paved road. It just appeared before my eyes a few switchbacks below. I got off the trail at 3:02!!! My goal had been 3:00.
I walked into the park, and asked a guy where the portal store was. Had to cross a stream and almost fell in. Right there was the store, and Carol (my wife), Paul Shibey, Tim and Diana Post, Jane, and my co-hikers. Wes, Curtis, and Tim were all cleaned up.
What a transformation!!! I couldn’t stop myself from talking to Paul. I got a wonderful cheeseburger and fries! I showered with a personal cleaning kit that Carol prepared. We took pictures.
We finally left Whitney Portal at about 5:00 pm. We went into Long Pine and had a huge pizza party. Then we started on our way home at 6:30 pm. At about 10:30, we stopped at Tim Posts house, split up and I got home before midnight.
Boy what a trip. Laundry is horrible. BUT WE DID IT!!!