Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 58: casual stroll up Whitney

Friday 6/15/12
Miles (not sure but maybe 6 or 7?)
Elevation 12,004ft

We decided to do Whitney, and we're taking it real casual and doing it in 2 days instead of one, since we have extra time by cutting out 20 miles of the pct.

Oh!! Exciting news!! My pack now weighs 33 lbs!!! I'm soooo stoked!! :D kyle's pack weighs 31 lbs. At some point between leaving Kennedy Meadows (where my pack weighed 40 lbs) and today, I managed to shave off 7 lbs of pack weight. WOW. I'm proud of myself!! :) Sending home my micro spikes made a huge difference. I also bounced my umbrella and my hiking flip flops/camp shoes, since I wasn't planning on hiking in flip flops for a while.

The funny thing is, my flip flops weigh more than my shoes. Geez. Lol. It kinda sucks not having camp shoes but it's ok, I just run around barefoot. The only negative thing about that is I get a lot of tree sap on the bottom of my feet. But that's ok, because I just use a rock like sandpaper to scrape the sap off my foot. Im just stoked there isn't broken glass everywhere, cuz picking out chunks of broken glass from feet is not fun. Anyhow, this is awesome, because once I get rid of this bear canister I can achieve a sub 30 lb pack (that's including food and water). Yay!! :)

So we are at Trail Camp on whitney right now, which is the 2nd camp you get to (there are 2 on the Whitney Portal side). We got here and made camp at about 2:30pm. Lol. I LOVE casual days and setting up camp early!! :D This is including the 2 hour break we took earlier, at the first camp which was next to a stream. I got a couple pics there: me doing laundry and Kyle surfing on a log. Lol. The first camp was at around 10,000' elevation. It was surprisingly warm. The water was super cold tho. I didn't go swimming. Lol.

Man, I can't even explain how awesome this trail is! It's so luxurious compared to what we've been on. Even with the crazy elevation gain, the trail is so well maintained; the rocks are like steps so it's a lot easier than what most of the pct ascends are like. Also, there's water everywhere. Especially since recently coming out of the desert, this is a huge luxury. The Whitney trail thus far has paralleled a stream so there is always water. I mean, i can practically carry just a 20 oz bottle of water, and be ok. What a juxtaposition from the 18-25 mile waterless stretches in the mojave! Lol. Plus the sound of running water is so incredibly wonderful to hear.

This trail is quite incredible, and not just only because of the views. I took a bunch of pics of the scenery. There are lakes and stuff up here! :) I was imagining a sheer rock face with a bunch of switchbacks. But there are a bunch of lakes and some flat areas, which is so cool! We are currently above the treeline so it's just a bunch of rocks, rubble, and patches of snow here and there. I'm so grateful there is no snow to navigate through. This is awesome. There are a bunch of other people camping here too.

It's so interesting, the difference between overnight hikers and thru-hikers. In a way I am quite envious of all the luxury items they can carry. But it's ultimately the mentality of the overnight hikers vs. thru hikers that I find fascinating. For us, since we are going so minimal, every item we have is so crucial. Nothing goes to waste, and everything has to serve an important enough function to justify the weight in carrying it. The heaviest thing i have (not counting the bear can) is my sleeping bag which weighs a little less than 2.5 lbs. The whole reason I never brought my water filter is because it weighs 1lb. That's ridiculous. I had a solar charger for a while that weighed a little over 1lb. That was ridiculous too, so I swapped it out for a lighter weight one. Many thru-hikers get rid of every excess thing that adds weight, like straps on a backpack, toothbrush handles, water bottle labels and that plastic ring that goes below the water bottle cap, food packaging, etc.

It's funny, because we were talking to a group of overnight hikers, and one of them spilled a bag of uncooked spaghetti on the floor, I helped them pick it up, and they decided to throw it away. Kyle was standing nearby and saw this; I looked at him and I knew we were thinking the exact same thing: how the hell can they throw away perfectly good spaghetti?!? It only fell on the floor, geez! How wasteful. :( I suppose once you've dipped water from a stagnant cow trough with dead bugs floating around, or dipped from a hole you dug in a pile of muddy water with live bugs swimming around and cow poop everywhere, your perception on things dramatically change. Lol.

You know what's really depressing though, there is SO MUCH trash everywhere. Holy moly. :( Especially around this camp area we're at, you can find wrappers and plastic crap tucked away in almost all the rock crevasses. Plus, people get wag bags because u gotta pack all your poop out (nothing decomposes at high elevation), and I can't even tell you how many poop bags I've seen on the trail. Boo. :( No wonder people are supposed to get permits to hike Whitney from the Whitney Portal side. They limit the # of permits that are issued. Since Kyle and I don't have permits (we didn't originally intend on coming up this side) and are technically not supposed to be here, we picked up a bunch of trash to carry out. Hopefully that'll balance out the karma :)

Ok im going to stop typing now. See, this is what happens when i have free time. I keep typing and I don't stop. Lol. I dont ever have free time on the trail. Im either walking, setting up or breaking down camp, doing random chores, or cooking/eating. Anyhow, my hands are cold. I'm gonna put my gloves back on. Goodnight :)


  1. GREAT reading!! Hey you are FINALLY on some trail that I have been on. I went up and down Whitney in a day back in 1994. Funny thing is I don't really remember the trail all that well. Coming down I was SO TIRED all I could think about was making it back to the trail head. Can't wait to read more.

  2. I love that you are so spontaneous and taking advantage of the many opportunities. I also love that you are able to describe the experience in such detail. I'm excited as I have an opportunity to hike an 80 mile loop including Whitney at the end of July. Tomorrow I begin Section K :) Here is a teaser from a couple weeks ago on the PCT north of Castella/Castle Crags.

  3. Awesome pics - It's looks really beautiful up there!