Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 5, Whitney In View

We would start the day before sunrise. Before twilight. Venus could be seen and the Moon was still up. We awoke around 4:20AM intending to on the trail not long after 5:00 to see how night hiking would work for us. It wasn't cold and there was no wind. We would warm up as we climbed the inutual 700-800 feet over 1,2 miles into the mountains. Adam lead the way with Andy, me, Konrad , and Matt trailing. I followed the red light Andy had turned on and we made surprisingly good progress over the rising trail covering the fistNce in about 50 minutes. A good wak. By this time there was ample light to see trail by and we broke into our usual groups with me last in line. Up the craggy trail we went. I passed a couple near some rocks who I thought had camped there but probably really camped just beyond the chilly waterfall we gathered at 10-15 minutes later on. That was a swift bit of water and slipping off the walking stones would have been very annoying. A windy cold spot at about 7:30. But a good place to fetch water and get ready to climb through the next bit of forest. I was keen to find a sunny spot so I could sit down and have a snack and when a rocky curve presented such a chance I took it.

 Climbing open swutchbacks that would lead to more alpine forest and meadows. Good places for emergency bathroom breaks. Andy and Konrad passed me during such a pause. Oh joy. We mrched on past the sign telling us Crabtree Meadow was 4.4 mes away (I first went down the wrong path causing Andy to come back and look for me. We met at the sign as I was going to ask a backpacker where the proper trail was). More climbing. Walking open level bits baking in the sun. Hello , a pretty stream and a shaded hillside. Lunch spot! I broke out the Jalapeno Jack cheese and Sndy, who HD been dehydrating black beans and beef, fired up his stove for chili. Wonderful long lunch. People passed by and I can only hope they gazed longingly at us eating mouthwatering food.

 At 2:00PM we hauled our butts into Crabtree. I was still feeling bowels issues and the pit toilet was my good friend there. Nice view too. It is a hot hike from the lunch stream to Crabtree. Even though it descends modestly but it felt like such a slog.

 The last stretch to Guitar Lake was surprisingly easy if not straightforward. Sure at times I had to pause in a climb to catch my breath but I covered the distance more quickly than I thought I would and at times I was moving eTher slow on purpose. Guitar Lake looks like it deserves to be explored but unlike Andy and Konrad I didn't leave camp once I arrived. Adam and Matt had been there for hours trying to find shade amongst the rocks. They had dinner ready. I ate modestly and not long after the best alpinglow had faded, long before I bet the campers next door packed it in, I went too bed. After all, I thought we were to rise at midnight for a 1:00AM climb to Trailcrest intersection, 2.9 miles and some 1,700 feet above. Sleep was what I needed.

 Photos are of Guitar Lake. You pass some other fine lakes on that trail nut I'm not sure you can camp at them. timberline Lake struck me as very pretty.

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