June 7: After a couple days of rest and recoup, it was time to hit the trail again. We had run into Nomad Max the day before in Lone Pine and he had offered us an early morning ride up to Horseshoe Meadows to hike. So at 7 am, One of Us, Catlady (another AT 2013 hiker- man, we are OWNING the PCT this year!), and I jumped in the car and headed out.
The big question for this section was- Mt Whitney, yes or no? My Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states (Denali is higher, of course) and to summit Whitney is only 17 miles round trip from the PCT. Plus, the permits to summit are hard to come by, but are sort of included in a PCT permit. So it makes a lot of sense to go for it.
On the other hand, I still didn't feel great and I also had Forester Pass to conquer- 10 miles after Whitney. I wasn't sure if u had it in me to do both back to back.
In the end, I thought about my big motivating factor to do Whitney now- a line from one of the guidebooks to be sure NOT to miss Whitney because "you may never have the opportunity to do it again". Why? Why would I never have the opportunity to do it again? Is the mountain going somewhere? Does it have plans to vacation on Mars or Venus? Of course I'll have another opportunity! I'll save Whitney for another day.
My decision was confirmed when I descended into Crabtree Meadows, where the trail to Mt Whitney turns off. It was cold and wet and rainy with patches of wet snow. Everyone looked cold and tired and frankly, quite miserable. I ran into Shutterbug and his girlfriend who had attempted to summit , but turned back when it got too cold and snowy. Others reported that "the morning was spectacular, before the snowstorm hit". And just about everyone said they were gonna zero in their tent the next day.
I had had enough from the hail I encountered when entering Kings Canyon at 11,000 feet. I decided to hang out with Shutterbug for a while and then press on to the campground with the bear box.
I got into the campground just after 7, with just enough daylight to set up, get water, and cook/eat dinner. A nice, respectable 24 mile day!
Peace, love, and trail magic