Miles hiked: 13.2 (3.7 off the PCT on the JMT)
Camped at: Guitar Lake with many JMT-ers, section hikers, and thrus
Ahh to be so dependent on technology. My large (and second) external battery pack stopped working tonight right when I was doing to charge my phone in anticipation of taking lots and lots of photos of the climb of Mt Whitney tomorrow. The first smaller charger had enough juice left to top off my Steripen, so at least I won’t die of Giardia the next few days. Ahh, the angst – my phone is my camera, music player, navigation aid, blogging device…..I don’t need it to hike on the PCT with its obvious tread, but *sigh* it sure does make life nicer out here. Of course I’m starting one of the prettiest sections of the entire trail, wouldn’t you know it! I’ll be asking to charge using other hikers’ solar chargers, etc, to have a minimum amount for emergencies until reaching Kearsarge Pass in a few days, but I hate to mooch. So, very few photos will be forthcoming for the rest of this section. An upsetting end to an otherwise sublime day.
Today’s hike was through mountain streams, lovely hills with a decent climb, before crossing into Crabtree Meadow and entering what felt like a different world of granite boulders and stunning scenes. So strange to suddenly see day hikers, but I am close to Whitney Portal and other side trails. I even saw a horse pack train! I’m guessing it was supplies for a Boy Scout troop who passed in the other direction (thankfully). I leapfrogged again today with Wrong Way Randy, who is slow like me but is a great role model in a measured even pace. I also spent some time chatting with Peg & John when I passed their camp at Rock Creek a few miles into today’s hike, a truly wonderful area. Makes me wish I had pushed on last night, but I’m glad I slept as high as I did.
Upon leaving the PCT at idyllic Crabtree Meadow, I climbed by a babbling broom to the ranger station camping area, complete with bear box and an unexpected gift of a Trails Illustrated map of Whitney! Yes, I really picked up a map when I didn’t need it – I totally feel out with them, a great souvenir for me :). The rest of the climb up to Guitar Lake, where I’m base camping for the Whitney climb tomorrow, was gradual but I was getting tired. I was very happy to stop and talk with everyone coming down from their summit about the conditions. Of particular help were Tink and Reverend Blister, who seem to have a similar fear of falling. They told me about some sketchy sections in the last 2 miles – while somewhat anxiety provoking, it’s good for me to set expectations ahead of time.
Crossing over into Crabtree: