What an amazing adventure!! Hiking Mt. Whitney has been on my bucket list since age 9 or 10, and finally this summer on our 17th annual FloMat (formerly the daddy daughter) back packing trip we climbed the highest mountain in the contiguous US at 14,505 ft it was an epic climb!
Day 1: Layton and I drove from Rexburg Idaho to Salt Lake City Utah, and arrived at 2 am... holy lateness.
Day 2: We went to REI to get boots, Max came up from Provo and we drove to Reno where we ate Thai food at 10:30 at night, and slept in a somewhat sketchy hotel.
Day 3: We went to church in a place called Minton. More driving. We got to eat at the whoa nelly deli, which is quite possible my favorite restaurant ever! The Florence family arrived late that night.
Day 4: We woke up and realized that somewhere along the line Adeline's pack did not make it to the hotel... Luckily we were able to pull together an extra back pack and gear so that she only needed to buy a headlamp; talk about a miracle.
We started our hike with Kearsarge pass; lots of uphill (about 9 miles). We met up with McKay and the boys he was hiking with at the end of the day. Dad made some delicious quesadillas and quinoa salad.
Day 5: Forrester pass... 16 mile day. Basically, it was hard. But we made it through and it was just really nice being with friends and family. Also, we saw a ton of marmots!
Day 6: not a bad day, we hiked about 11 miles, no passes, saw some super beautiful trees, and we made it all the way to Guitar lake which is at the bottom of the trail to Mt. Whitney. We camped at super high elevation, so it was pretty cold. We ate quickly and went to bed while it was still kind of light. Layton and I set up our tent behind a big boulder to protect us from the wind, but what we didn't realize was that our heads were facing slightly downhill... so basically we didn't sleep all night and I kept getting bloody noses. Finally we just stuck our heads out of the tent and looked at the stars. Eventually Layton suggested we sleep the other way and as soon as we turned around we felt so good and the nose bleeds stopped and we were able to sleep for a couple of hours.
Day 7: We started hiking around 7 am, up and up and up and up. Then you come to the top of one mountain, drop your pack and keep climbing for another 2 miles to reach the top of Mt. Whitney. Total elevation at the top is 14,505 !! The air is so thin at the top that even the smallest actions feels incredibly hard, but it was so beautiful to be on the tallest peak looking down at all the huge mountains around you. After reaching the top you come back down to pick up your packs, and begin the "supposedly" 99 switchbacks to the bottom (we counted and there are actually 114!). Then its 8 miles to the parking lot where the van was. Layton and I were the first to make it to the down!! When everyone had made it we celebrated with hamburgers. It was glorious!!
Day 8: We woke up after spending a wonderful night at the Marriot, and drove all the way from Reno to UT. We got to hot tub at dad's house:)
Day 8: Yoga with Dad! Then we hiked a waterfall with Layton's Sisters, so fun! later that day we ate In and out and hung out till Max's Skate video Premier, which was a huge success. Max is basically the coolest person I know. The video was amazing and very well attended!
We passed so many beautiful lakes and streams, and the best part was there were no mosquitos, even though we were near water the whole time!
It was so fun being with family and friends, the conversations on these hike are wonderful and you don't have to be bothered by technology, you can just focus on the now, it's very peaceful. These trips are a wonderful time to rejuvenate and relax despite the fact that they are very physically demanding!