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.
THE MOUNT WHITNEY JOURNALS –BOOK IV — 2007
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.