Day 6: 10 Miles – Knowing When to Call it
I woke up this morning feeling really good for the first time in a week. We made the best decision. Being an adventurer doesn’t mean you conquer everything you set out to do. It means you explore the world and try new things despite not knowing the outcome. And sometimes as an adventurer, you have to know when to call it. We called it last night after 6 days and I have this sudden sense of relief. Sometimes an adventure doesn’t live up to the hype and after all, this is supposed to be fun. So our fun will continue but it will take a different form than originally planned.
Brian found another trail other than the JMT that will take us closer to civilization. So if we play our cards right today, we can be back in Mammoth by tonight and we won’t have to backtrack so we’ll see all new views. From there we will figure out what we want to do.
We stopped at Purple Lake again so Brian could catch a brook trout. He got one almost immediately. He was so happy.
This other trail was a great hike to finish with. We passed some of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen, we saw wildlife and we even crossed some snowy passes. Because we are now over 11,000 feet, there’s still a lot of snow on the trails. The tough part is when you have to cross a steep part of the mountain but it’s covered in snow or ice. They can be tricky because if you lose your footing or slip on the snow, you can slide to your death. So they’re not to be taken lightly. When we reached the first one, Brian went first. He was nearly halfway across the pass when some unprepared naive day hikers started to cross at the same time!! Brian yelled at them to stop and fortunately there was a big rock they were able to climb up on and move out of his way. By the time the couple made it to my side of the mountain the young woman was crying. The whole thing really scared her. I had no sympathy for them though. They put Brian in danger. I didn’t have too much trouble crossing. It was a little nerve wracking but I took my time and got by uneventfully. I was glad I had the opportunity to cross one.
As we walked this morning I realized just how much pressure we endured while hiking with others. This morning’s hike was pleasant, even enjoyable. We don’t have a schedule to keep anymore. This is what we originally wanted. So in a sense we are still getting what we came here for. It makes me wonder if this trip would have been different for us if Brian and I were able to stick to the schedule we originally planned. I try not to think about that though.
There were a few things I wanted to do on the JMT and in these 60-70 miles, I have accomplished most of them. I swam in an ice cold lake, I saw bear prints, I saw mountain lions (bonus!), I went fly fishing, I hiked at 11,000 feet, I hitchhiked, and I crossed a snowy pass. The only thing I really didn’t get to do was get a picture of myself on top or mount Whitney (the highest point in the continental US). But I don’t feel I need to because I know that I can. So all in all, I’m feeling really good right now. Also, from a physical standpoint, we have surpassed those first few hard days. With the exception of my persistent foot pain, my body has learned what it needs to do and it does it easily. My leg muscles don’t hurt anymore and I can do the hard climbs, my 34 pound pack doesnt bother me. Brian’s altitude sickness seems to be more manageable now.
I do have to say to all of my readers that I am very sorry I could not carry you all the way to Mount Whitney with me. I wanted to show you the good times and the bad as I made my way south and perhaps one day I’ll return but this just isn’t my time. I’m ok with that and I hope you are too. Either way, if you are interested In reading about someone who has completed the JMT, there are thousands of blogs out there, many much better than my own. I encourage you to seek them out. It’s an absolutely amazing journey.
I believe this will be my last post. I’m sure you’re not all here to read about our new adventure which will be in the pacific northwest. That said, check back in a few weeks and I will post a video of all the pictures and videos I took along the way.
Thank you for all of your love and support.
Over and Out.