June 13, Day 53 – Summiting the highest peak in the lower 48

We’ve been sleeping in too much lately so we decided to change it up. Today I woke up at 11:45pm in order to start hiking at midnight. Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48, was only 7.9 miles from our campsite. It was also 3,768 feet above us. Price Point, Honeybear, Toby, Snack Pack and I were aiming to get there by sunrise and we made it to the top at 4:30 and sunrise was at 5:27. We got to watch the stars disappear into the dark blue sky. There were around 30 of us up there, all wearing every article of clothing we had and our sleeping bags. We were still cold but it was worth it. After lots of pictures and snacks, we headed down at 6:30. I strolled into camp at 10 and immediately started eating rice and beans and drinking water. I didn’t eat or drink enough on the hike and was feeling it. Next I soaked my feet in the creek fed by snow melt and fell asleep in the lush grass. After the short nap, I migrated to my sleeping pad and tried to sleep some more. Around 3 we decided to do a few miles to get us closer to Forester Pass, the highest point on the PCT. We will be climbing it tomorrow. We ate dinner at 6 and went to bed at 7. I hope to sleep at least 10 hours tonight. We are all very tired but have solid plans to get into Bishop by lunch time on Tuesday, in 2 days. I feel better than I thought I would after a midnight start and 16 grueling miles to the top of Whitney.

Climbing Mt. Whitney was the hardest 4 hours of hiking I’ve had in my life but it was worth it. The trail was steeper and rockier than I expected. During the day, it wouldn’t have been too difficult but not being able to see well, even with our headlights, made it a little grueling. Honeybear stayed in the front of the line all the way to the top. She did all of the route finding, pace setting and general leading. She made it a lot easier for us.

Miles: 3.3 Total Miles: 770.3

The top of Mt. Whitney!

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