Dustin and I decided pre-trip that we would not take the side trip up Mt. Whitney due to A Suspected Lack of Endurance and Physical Strength. Then we got on the trail and a million people asked if we were going up Mt. Whitney, since everyone else was going up and it was really, really worth it. So like the wee lemmings we are, we decided to at least give Whitney a shot since the masses had advised that to not go up would be a really terrible, regrettable decision that would forever haunt us.
Guilt is a powerful motivator.
Dustin hanging out at some gate. I just Googled “Why are there gates on the John Muir Trail,” but alas, I’m still at a loss. The Google has failed me.
Ah yes. It’s about time to introduce some new friends, the marmots. Adorable, over-sized squirrels, these little squirts like to chew through everything. Super obnoxious. We somehow made it through the entire trip with zero marmot encounters, which is nice because I’m pretty sure they could take us on.
The all-mighty marmot nibbling on things that are not our trekking pole straps. Thank fortune.
In an effort to beat the crowds, we hiked past Crabtree Meadow and camped at Guitar Lake in order to rise at the charming hour of 4:20 a.m. to hike Mt. Whitney. We decided to leave most of our gear on top of a large rock dubbed Marmot Defense Rock, taking just some snacks and water.
Heading up. Guitar Lake, right and back.
Despite the hype, the trek was tamer than anticipated, especially with the lack of heavy pack. We encountered minimal snow and ice covering the trail, but crossed enough slippery patches that we were glad to be summiting in the light.
The top provided some really lovely views that we eventually took full advantage of, but first we called everyone we knew. Naturally.
In the epic battle of nature vs. cell phone service, cell phone service wins again.
Dustin struggling to find AT&T coverage while another hiker takes advantage of a really terrible nap spot. There’s a pretty terrific drop off to his right.
A delightful view!
Playing some cribbage. I lost.
Then we headed down back to Guitar Lake and back Crabtree Meadow to hike another a few miles before dark. I stubbornly maintain that hiking down the trail is almost always harder than hiking up it. Woe be to my knees!
Post-Whitney, retrieving stuff stashed on Marmot Defense Rock.