Mirror Lake – Sonnets by morning, Dirges in the afternoon

December 20, 2011

Today’s post is excerpt from The Mount Whitney Journals. Like some of my fellow bloggers, the bustle of the holidays makes it hard to be as religious about writing and posting on our blogs as we’d like.  And  whenever I make an excuse or semi-apologize for long gaps between posts, I almost feel as if I’m going to confession and telling the priest that it’s been 1, 2, 5 years or three presidential administrations since my last visit.

I digress. In the narrative of my story, both Rich and Phil are above me on the mountain, having gone ahead to try for the summit while I retreated from the 13,700′ elevation of Trail Crest, about 2.5 miles from the summit. It’s now late afternoon, I’m cranky, tired and hungry and I’m still 4 miles from finishing my hike. 

Near Mirror Lake


From the granite outcropping where the trees start appearing, I turn north toward Mirror Lake and Thor’s Peak. I realize now that I’m going to finish at close to 7:00, possibly later. It’s taken me three hours to descend the four miles from Trail Crest and I’m still four miles from the trailhead. When I catch my first glimpse of Mirror Lake from above, I find wry humor in how different my reaction is now compared to seeing it this morning. This morning, I was blissful and teary-eyed, ready to frolic and compose sonnets upon seeing the lake and mountains painted glorious in the warm colors of the early morning sun. Now I’m indifferent. All I feel is pain, exhaustion, hunger and all I want is for this accursed hike to end so I can say goodbye to Mt. Whitney forever, burn my hiking shoes, turn my poles into Christmas ornaments and start taking my vacations in warm tropical places like normal non-masochists.


About victorvolta

I am a freelance photographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the very suburban city of Santa Clara. Education: San Jose State University (class of '84) BA degree in Journalism with concentrations in Photojournalism and English. Favorite Foods: Ribeye steaks and Stan's Doughnuts (separate plates, usually). Favorite Drinks: Strong gourmet coffee and Trader Joe's Blood Orange Italian Soda (separate cups).
This entry was posted in Book IV Excerpt - 2007, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mirror Lake – Sonnets by morning, Dirges in the afternoon

  1. ewa says:

    …and the funny thing is that even remembering how LONG and anticlimactic descent from Whitney is, we keep on coming back and it is not only the burgers at Whitney Portal Store.
    (I wonder if they would taste as good without the hike)

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