Day 66 (June 12): Mile 766.2 – 767.2

You’re Never Gonna Keep Us Down (The One Mile Day)

Beginning Elevation = 10,350
Ending Elevation = 10,850
Weather: Sunny, High of 70°F

Due to our game changing plans yesterday evening (not going for Whitney), we were able to have a sleep in. Didn’t exactly work for me, I still woke up around 5:15am. But, rather than get packing, I just peaked out of my tent to this view!

Then, I laid back down and went off and on sleeping for a bit. At 6:45am, the sun finally peaked over the mountains.

Soon, I saw dad sneaking around out there and at the same time started noticing drips of melting frost coming down upon me. I decided to join him on the hillside for a coffee and first breakfast, which for this week has been one of the Complete Cookies. Once PopTop and Cheer began moving around, dad and I moved our tents to the sun to dry, along with our shoes and socks which were wet from the snow tromping yesterday.

Around 8:30am or so, dad and I went on a scouting mission to investigate the crossing of Whitney Creek. The creek was more like a river at this point and the water was moving fast. All the water from the big pond-like area in the photos I posted yesterday drained into a narrow canyon about fifteen feet across. We arrived to a spot where a log reached across both sides, just as Elusive and Goldfish had finished crossing. They’d basically crawled over it, but water was crashing into the one side. We weren’t too excited about the prospect of using this method. Just above this though, the water didn’t seem too fast or deep, and we figured we could wade across there.

Upon returning, we had second breakfast with Cheer and PopTop. They too began drying things out. We also noticed four cowboy campers who had slept nearby. Poptop chatted with them and found that they’d hiked into the night and arrived around 11:30pm the night before. Sheesh. Scary to me, but hike your own hike as they say.

Around 10:00am, Calzone made it to our camp! And then a half hour later were Snickers and Kool-Aid! The team was reunited at last! They had many of the same troubles we did and we all gathered to tell various stories of hiking the different sections. While the four of us lazy morning hikers packed up, we chatted about our thoughts and plans for the day.

Our newly reunited Fellowship would be broken, but not without a good reason. Mr. Snickers was pretty determined to battle Mount Whitney and made the plan to camp at the base tonight and go for it tomorrow early am. PopTop really hoped to achieve this goal of hers too and thus decided to check out the scene with Snickers. So, around noon, after hanging out a while, we all set out to cross the creek together. We had great success.

On the other side, still all of us together, we had lunch. It was a lovely little spot and good relaxing times were had by all.

About an hour later, we buckled on the packs and set out. Here was the parting of the ways with Snickers and PopTop bearing to the right with the Whitney summit on their mind and Kool-Aid, Cheer, Calzone, Papa Wonder, and myself heading up and to the left. If all goes well, we’ll reconnect in town, and onward together through the Sierra we shall go. If not then, maybe somewhere further on along the trail.

Up the trail went quite fiercely. It was snow free for the most part, being south facing, so that was very much appreciated.

After about a mile, we reached out lofty goal for the day. Tomorrow, our plan is to get to the last camp before Forrester Pass and we didn’t think we could get there today still. So a super short, nero of sorts, day today and then a “shortish” day tomorrow prior to our big climb on Friday!

Our camp site was a flat gravelly area between two long east-west running snow drifts. I was super tired and a bit out of it (maybe too much sun?) for some reason and so after setting up my tent, took a lie down on my sleeping pad under one of the giant trees. I never fell asleep, but it was good just to get away for a bit.

Afterwards, I felt a ton better. I did realize then though that my tent location was poorly chosen. The snow melt was encroaching rapidly!

At first, dad and I tried to re-route the drainage with little success. Then, I pulled a Texas Flip and Move maneuver and transported the entire setup.

The rest of the day was spent resting up and hanging out with each other. I did go on a short solo walk around. I’d hoped to find a rock outcrop for something with views, but for the most part we’re in a forest with only partial views through the trees of the surrounding mountains.

Dinner was a joyous occasion as per usual. We love our food and love to talk about food. Aside from that, however, I got to hear about Calzone’s trip to Switzerland and riding in the back of a VW van through the windy mountain roads, Dave H’s father/daughter camping expedition on one of the Manitou Islands when many wild berries were consumed, about the food Kool-Aid had when teaching in Russia (apparently lots of things with mayonnaise), and about the best breakfast ever that Cheer had at the hotel in Yosemite Valley!

After dinner, dad brought out the frogs for a fierce competition. He had brought 4 sets of different colored plastic jumping frogs and the goal was to spring them into the cook pot before the other contenders. Very serious frogers we were.

I was eliminated after the first round and dad won with authority. In the second heat, Cheer took home the W. Let’s see that in instant replay…

This led to a showdown between Dave H “The Master Trailsman” and the mighty Cheer! It was a heated battle!

We went into our tents about the same time that wie strolled into camp the previous night. I much prefer the earlier situation if possible. It was great to be in such an amazing setting and take the time to enjoy it! Very happy with the decision to move on past Mount Whitney. Already talks are being made of a possible return some day in the future to tackle it, possibly as the culmination of completing the John Muir tyrail? Just spitballing here.

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