Hiking Mt. Whitney in a day - not for the faint of heart!
Three adventurous fifty something (year olds), friends and busy So. Calif. moms (with a bucket list inspired by AFAR's experiential travel philosophy) decided to tackle Mt. Whitney in a day - 22 miles, 11 up and 11 back, with an elevation of 14,492' at the summit. Though we all work out and are in good physical condition, we only had one prep hike under our belts. Opting for comfy beds in quaint Lone Pine (at the historic Dow Villa Motel) and lighter backpacks instead of camping at the trail head, we rose at 2 am and were on the trail with headlamps at 3:30 am. We summited at 12:30 pm having stopped hourly for photos, water, snacks, rest, etc. We all handled the altitude well, though, each had a slight headache and or stomach ache after 12,000'. It's a gorgeous trail filled with rocks and boulders (a lot of climbing and navigating required, easy to sprain an ankle) waterfalls, pine trees meadows and lakes, marmots and chipmunks. No bear sightings gratefully.The weather was perfect except for fog at the summit, where we lunched and relaxed for an hour and wrapped our heads around the fact that we had another 11 miles of downhill ahead of us, which was actually the hardest part …our poor knees, ankles and feet. We got down right at 8pm. Our flip flops and an iced cold celebratory beer never felt so good!!!