Monday 16th September 2013: Guitar Lake – Mount Whitney – Trail Crest – Whitney Portal
The last day on trail… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! My heart is crying and big tears drip down from my cheeks before I am ready to get out of my sleeping bag. I don’t want this to end. This is perfect. This is what life should be ALL the time!!!
I force myself to get up shortly after Joe’s alarm plays “The final countdown”… It’s a bittersweet wake-up call at midnight. We have breakfast and coffee in the dark, though isn’t all that dark as the moon is almost full and lightens Mount Whitney and the mountains and rocks around it. OMG! In a few hours I’ll be up there!!!
By 1 am we are all set to go. So we go. With our headlamps on, it’s cold but we’re doing great. We’re about to conquer that great mountain and finish the JMT. By tonight I’ll be a JMT-thru-hiker!!! After 30 minutes we reach the switchbacks. As always I climb slow but steady. O those switchbacks up to the trail crest junction went smooth and I really enjoyed hiking in the dark with the moon to light my way! At about 3am we reached the junction where I left my bearcan, tent and stove and got ready to hit the final 1,9 miles up to the top of Whitney. The moon started to set and suddenly it was waaay darker. Wow!!! All those stars in the sky! Unbelievably BEAUTIFUL and intense! Luckely the others had brought bright headlamps cuz my petzl e-light wasn’t particularly bright enough to light the trail. Hm not designed for nighthiking that tiny lamp!
Somehow that second part of the climb felt way more demanding than the switchmbakcs… concentration big time!!! And o DAMN… it got windy and soooooooooooo freakin’ cold!!!
At about 5pm I finally reached the top. Thank god that hut was there!!! If not we would all have frozen our asses off!!! Joe wasn’t feeling all that well so he got into the downhugger and stayed in the hut.
As soon as we saw some light we got out. Jee it still took more than one hour for the sun to rise and it was SOOO FUCKIN’ COLD!!! But then there she came… WOW!!! An amazing red ball showed up on the horizon, slowly rising and gradually changing color from red to orange and warm yellow. The freezing and the getting up early and all those feet of elevation were worth it!!!
I SAW THE SUN RISE ON TOP OF MOUNT WHITNEY!!! The official end of my AMAZING JOHN MUIR TRAIL!!!
This is all way toooo emotional! AW MY HEART! I don’t want this to end. After taking loads of pics and loggin into the Whitneybook we went back down, now seeing the trail we had climbed in the dark. Not bad! Not bad at all! We met the first people coming up from the other side. What a strange feeling!
Back at the junction we got our stuff that we’d left there and got to TRAIL CREST where I finaly could feel the warmth of the sun getting to my cold and frozen bones. More and more dayhikers crossed our way and congratulated us on our JMT-Thruhike! HELL YEAH!!! I DID IT!!!!
The hike down, the switchbakcs, along trail camp…. seemed unendless! We knew this would be a hard day… and a hard day it was! I was hurting! Not only my body but also my heart!
I so much wanted to finally get some decent food at the portal, yet getting there also ment it would be the end of my wilderness adventure :c( Jeeee the trail after trail camp sucked like hell… Hard for the knees, feet… I stumbled down, dipped my foot in the creek (damn rigth… never slipped into a stream the whole trail and now on the last couple of miles… jeee!!!),… All of a sudden we saw the parking lot of the portal. I MADE IT!!! The boys got there before me and were waiting at the end of the trail. We hugged, congratulated eachother, took some pics and off we went: BURGERS; FRIES; SODA!!! HELL YEAH!!! We ate like as if we’d never eaten before! O that was so GOOD GOOD GOOD! Armand had his car parked at the portal and he drove us all into Lone Pine where we found a bed at a motel. Damn that felt so strange and wrong… sitting in a car, driving, no dirt under my feet ;c( My heart and soul were crying! Bye wilderness, bye JMT!!!