It seems like I’d been planning my hike to Mount Whitney for FOREVER and a day. Still, with all of the months of training and preparation, enthusiasm turned to fear and nervousness as the time drew near to head up to the trail. We’d done our preparation hikes weighed down with fully loaded packs, did everything we could to lighten our loads, and did our homework educating ourselves about the trail conditions and the weather. We were obviously aware of the numbers: 8K where we would begin on the trail, 12K where we would spend our first night, and over 14K at the summit. Yet, somehow I’d gotten the elevation in Lone Pine wrong – thinking it was 6K instead of sub-4K. I tried not to let myself get hung up on it.
The initial miles from the trail head to trail camp are easy in the sense that the trail is not at all technical. I paced myself and we stopped to smell the trees (no roses in sight), take in the views, and catch our breath when we could.
It was nice to encounter water, seeing as how California is currently experiencing a drought. Being an ex-ICU nurse, who’s seen too many cases of dehydration at its worst, and has read about the extreme cases of AMS, HAPE, and HACE in the past few months, I was a little bit worried about water supply. I was much happier when water was in my sights.
Once in the blisteringly cold temps of Trail Camp, I was exceedingly happy when the sun was returning to the skies as well.