|The long trek from Lone Pine with|
the Alabama Hills in the foreground.
We made good time into Lone Pine (about 15 miles). We did stop at our motel in Lone Pine for a quick re-supply. The climb through the Alabama Hills (where many movie westerns are shot) to the base of Whitney was a beast of a climb. It was not as long as the last two days but it was relentless, with a steady steep grade and hardly any turns, and it was at the end of the day (starting at mile 15). We each picked our own pace and just ground it out.
The road beyond the base of Whitney was closed to vehicles so we met Doug there and he decided to hike up as far as he could as well. It was 3.6 miles from there to the Portal, and we would have to hike back down, making a 30 mile day. We had hoped to avoid making that far of a hike back down but the snow on the road made it a necessity.
|Jim hikes to the Portal with Mt. Whitney |
looming in the background.
Finally, after a couple more switchbacks, we arrived at the Portal. It was a great feeling of accomplishment to reach our destination. Badwater Basin seemed like a long distance away, both in time and miles.The trail to the top of Whitney broke off to the right but I'll have to save that for another day. I made the requisite snow angel, did a little Gangnam style dance, we took a few pictures and then we hiked it out of there. The sun was ducking behind the mountains and it was rapidly getting colder. We met Doug on the way down and he turned around and followed us down. We drove back, got cleaned up, went out for a burger and fries, and finished it up with ice cream.
|After 135 miles it is great to have real trees and snow.|
My legs actually felt better today than yesterday. Running was easier and they weren't quite as sore. I felt lucky to only have one blister bother me through the 139 miles and not suffer any major injuries. Jim had some shin split trouble today and the foot Marvin injured in the fall was a constant hassle for him but they both ground it out. Jim said the pain "kept him in the moment." I guess that is a good thing.
|I make the all-important finishing snow angel at the Portal.|
|Doug makes the trek up Whitney.|
|Jim enjoys the warmth of the last of the sun on the way back down.|