Conquering and capturing the Sierra Nevada - Part II
a photographer's trip report
Day 5 - Junction Meadow to somewhere near Guitar Lake (11 miles / 17.7 km)
On this day, we expected to join the John Muir Trail (JMT) and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the approach to Whitney. As a result, we saw at least 12 people on this 'crowded' stretch of trail, most of which packed much more efficiently (lighter) and hiked faster than us.
We started our day well before sunrise, eating breakfast, packing up and leaving our campsite before the first light hit the mountains. While that meant getting up early, keep in mind we had been going to sleep shortly after dark every day, getting solid 9-hour nights at least, which our bodies seemed to need.
From this point, we knew the trail would only go up, all the way until the summit of Mount Whitney, invisible to us at this point, but towering over 6000 feet (almost 2 km) above us!
So we paced ourselves, worried that any minor injury now would just be aggravated by the 25 miles or so of climbing left to do, or by the 11 miles down on the other side. We hiked up out of Junction Meadow for a beautiful view of the walls of the Kern Canyon bathing in the light of the rising sun (image above).
Right at the junction with another trail, we saw a couple in their late fifties / early sixties make their breakfast at a spot with a spectacular view; a good idea to hike up a little bit first and enjoy your oatmeal and coffee in such a scenic spot. Marcel remarked how he couldn't see him doing this with my mom, hiking out multiple days by themselves. I asked him what the difference was in doing such a trip with me, then, since I had taken my mom backpacking on a separate trip, and she proved to be an excellent backpacker too. He said they rely on me for the backcountry expertise, quite the compliment from the man who had just carried his fair share of the camp duties and pack load for the past 5 days!
Day 6 - Rest day
Day 7 - The great Whitney Ascent (13.1 miles / 21.1 km)
Day 8 - Outpost Camp to Whitney Portal (3.5 miles / 5.6 km)
During our trip, I took a good amount of video and hundred of gigabytes worth of timelapse footage. While I have not yet gotten to assemble that into a trip video, here is a quick cut that I made, centered around a song from Zorro, the classic 1957 series.