7/4: Pushing Toward Whitney

(I’m currently walking from Mexico to Canada, a distance of 2,700 miles, to help raise awareness & funds to help counteract the effects of human trafficking and the forced prostitution of women & children. I first cane across this issue while doing videography for Nick Vujicic’s ministry, ‘Life Without Limbs,” in 2008. Please join with me on this journey of freedom by offering prayers, telling others, and giving financially. Any donation, big or small, will be kept confidential, and will be appreciated beyond understanding. You will literally be helping buy the freedom of those who have been unwillingly enslaved in the chains of human slavery. Thank you!

Started the day pretty early…about 11:00pm on the 3rd, actually. I was sound asleep in my tent next to a wonderfully healthy Rock Creek, with Toby Wan, Sprinkles, Music Man, Veg, and a couple other hikers staying the night bedded down nearby. I was woken from a sound sleep by a voice asking if the plastic bottle they had in their hand was mine. I looked out under the bottom edge of my tarp and saw two sets of shoes standing next to my tarp, and I had one of those dream/not a dream moments. Then I realized it wasn’t a dream…I think…and they identified themselves as park rangers, and asked if I knew that leaving a bottle so close to a tent was a serious park infraction that carries a fine of $150. Thankfully, it was just Leader & Grizz playing a joke on me, and it was a good one. Apparently I just laughed at them while I still thought it was real, and whatever I was saying was scattered, sleepy gibberish.  Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night, and woke up tired.  Not good, since we had to start the day with a river crossing, then make about 21 miles or so to the base of Mt. Whitney. Our plan was to get there in time to climb Whitney, watch the fireworks below, then sleep on top. 

The river crossing went fine, I went across on two thin logs, although I almost fell in backward. We made it to Whitney without a hitch, but the weather, which had been so good, turned sour on us. Threatening clouds, thunder & lightning as well as high winds on top of Whitney kept us from ascending. This, to me, was tough. I had been watching for days to see if an ascent of Whitney on my Dads birthday was going to be a possibility, and it was: we were standing right at the base of the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, ready to ascend, but the weather turned us back. I was crushed. My dad passed away two years ago next month, and we always did something together on his birthday. This was going to be a very personally gratifying & special thing to be able to do – climbing Mt. Whitney on his birthday – and one he would have loved immensely. I felt crushed. But, it was the right decision. People have been killed on Whitney due to bad weather & lightning storms, so the weather there at 14,000+ feet is nothing to take lightly. Responsibility & level thinking won out. 

We bedded down on the edge of Guitar Lake, with Whitney looming over us, and fell asleep listening to the thunder & watching the black storm clouds roll in…

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