July 18th 2018; Lower Rock Creek – Crabtree Meadow: 7.6 miles
Today was a piece of cake. A bitter, unsweetened piece of cake made with blood, sweat, and tears – but a piece of cake nonetheless. And I didn’t hate eating it, mainly because it didn’t make me puke.
We all got good sleep last night. Between the peaceful quiet, darkness, and being wiped from the day’s hike, we slept hard and we slept in. As the sun made its appearance, we set out our still soaking clothes to dry. Not being nearly dry enough to mix with my unassaulted clothes, I makeshifted a clothesline on the outside of my pack – worked perfectly!
We set out and soon came across the first uphill battle. I took it slow and steady, mindful of my breathing and heart rate, I took intermediate breaks to avoid a repeat of yesterday. We even hit our first river crossing!
Shortly after, we hit Guyot Pass, our highest elevation of the day at 10.9K’. Being below the dreaded 11K’, I did not feel any of the symptoms of altitude sickness. In fact, I had an appetite and was able to eat lunch! Thank God I didn’t puke that up – tuna wouldn’t taste so good coming back up.
After Guyot Pass, we marched quickly over Guyot Flats – aptly named because they were, well, flat. And luxurious. We headed down a boulder field and had our first glimpse of the backside of Mt. Whitney (or what we thought was Whitney) since Monday. Soon clouds gathered, so we hastened the pace the camp should we be caught in another storm. We got to camp early – 1:45pm and set up camp.
A lot of people are here, doing what we’re doing. One crew made it up to Whitney today, but found themselves low on food. They saw us organizing our canisters and asked if we had any extra food. Lucky for them, we did and they were grateful for the donation. We came to learn that they completed the PCT 2 years ago and are now doing the High Sierra Trail. You would think with all that experience, they would know how much food to pack! However, I’ve come to learn that PCTers rely a lot on JMTers to pack too much food and use their leftovers as their resupply. So basically, PCTers are the vultures of the hiking world. HA – just kidding of course.
^^The infamous highly private pit toilet of Crabtree Meadows
We seem to have evaded the storm with only a few claps of thunder and a little sprinkling. We are going to bed early to get up early to hike Mt. Whitney. It’s another 4K’ higher than we are now, and although I felt much better today, I am not confident I’ll be able to make it up to 14.6K’! But we shall see, I’m going to attempt it no matter what. We have a game plan in place should I need to turn back. Hopefully it doesn’t need to be implemented, but it’s always best to be prepared!
Right now my body feels good – no aches and pains to complain about. However, the state of my feet is of minor concern. They look diseased with the skin just sloughing off (hopefully you’re not eating!). However, I have come to learn that is normal. My two index toenails are also about to fall off. Don’t need them anyway, right?!