photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Marichu Pereira | profile | all galleries >> My Hiking >> Mt. Whitney, California tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Mt. Whitney, California

Rising to 14,494 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states and the crown jewel of California's Sierra Nevada. It encompasses one of America's most beautiful alpine settings and provides a variety of aesthetic routes on superb granite. Interestingly enough, the lowest point in the United States (Badwater Basin in Death Valley at -279ft) is only about 90 miles from Mt Whitney—quite a contrast don’t you think?I've been hiking for 3 straight years and have thought that it's about time to take the big leap. For some, they'll hike up Whitney in one long and grueling day from the parking lot at Whitney Portal, situated at 8,360' above sea level. This involves an aggregate elevation gain of approximately 6,400' (including about 300' or so on the descent) in a 22-mile round trip.
We set out to fulfill a goal that started as a notion. In February, we put in for our permit using the lottery system and were lucky enough to have our first choice granted. Early this year, we began to train as hard as we could by working out at the gym and by taking long hikes in Mt. Carmel, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam, Yosemite's JMTrail and and as far as Hawaii. The Whitney trail is obviously very strenuous and most people take a couple of days to hike the entire length. We decided NOT to join the death march of tackling the trail as a day hike – we did it for 3 days. There are lots of switchbacks, beautiful lakes, meadows, waterfalls and wildlife encounters and most exciting of all were the creek and snow crossings. Slow in the ascent, l was left behind from 99 switchbacks to the summit. I never felt alone in that journey as l have my way of connecting my spirituality to the Divine Person and to Mother Nature. We all agreed that we are responsible for ourselves, concede when necessary and reach the summit no matter what. So l took my time not rushing, kept on hydrating myself and kept self-motivating as much as l could. I set aside my hobby for photography on my way to the summit so l could make it there at a decent time. I even once questioned my existence "Is this really me getting close to the summit or did l fall off those cliffs and died? Is it my spirit who is climbing?" - So I pinched myself , l felt the pinch and convinced myself that it was really me. I even tested myself to rule out pulmonary edema from altitude sickness by spitting. If there's no blood then l was clear. I was convinced again that I was doing great so l kept on going even though l was really tired on those endless ascents. Then l let my "sense of spirituality" kick in. I found myself praying for my family and for myself. Then l thought about my "late" mom and let my emotion got carried me away. I was surprised to see my friends Uma & James waiting for me before the summit. James was worried about me all along but Uma was not because she knows that I am persistent.
Compounding the difficulties associated with the length and elevation of the trail is that timeless scourge of the mountaineer -- altitude. Because the Mt. Whitney Trail ascends to the highest point in the continental US, oxygen is a priceless commodity. Much of the trail -- including the last several miles to the summit -- where every step is a challenge - I reached the summit on June 27, 2008 and embraced the "blinding" beauty of the wilderness. I survived this adventure for a lifetime and am looking forward to doing it again.
So, l would like to share with all of you my favorite quote from John Muir which l was able to share with Uma. It answers the question what it drew me to endure the hardship of scaling the peak and why l ventured into the vertical wilderness of this earth -

"Everybody needs beauty and bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and cheer
and give strength to the body and soul."
previous pagepages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ALL next page
my postcard
my postcard
inside the Visitor's Center
inside the Visitor's Center
Whitney Portal Waterfall
Whitney Portal Waterfall
The Roadless Travelled
The Roadless Travelled
Found: Munching Chipmunk - 2nd place 07/06/09 Print Basic Nature LVCC
"Found: Munching Chipmunk" - 2nd place 07/06/09 Print Basic Nature LVCC
getting ready for the killer hike
getting ready for the killer hike
my 35 lbs. backpack excluding my camera
my 35 lbs. backpack excluding my camera
Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree
entering the Danger Zone - JMWilderness
entering the Danger Zone - JMWilderness
we got our WAG bag!
we got our WAG bag!
previous pagepages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ALL next page