today's mileage: 16 miles
we woke up at 3am and started our ascent by 3:50am. it was pitch black and the sky blanketed us with stars. i barely slept because the slight bump i was on began to feel so uncomfortable that i kept thinking i was sleeping like this.
the day before, i had felt in my gut that this would be a hard climb, and it was. hit with altitude sickness pretty early on, i felt miserable for almost the entirety of the ascent. nausea, diarrhea and headaches were my symptoms and all i wanted to do was cry. so i did, in the dark, by myself.
i'll spare the sob story, but what i came out of this time was this: i can't make it in this world alone. i consider myself an independent person who typically handles things on my own. it's rare for me to ask for help because i know i can probably figure it out. but sometimes... i need to accept my weaknesses, cry out for help, and say yes! when help arrives. i couldn't have made it up mount whitney if it weren't for the committed and generous help of my friends brendon and di.
it took - what seemed like - an eternity to summit. in the early hours of this journey, the sun rose and illuminated the route we had taken and the route we were on. it was both painful and joyful to see (first image); i was at times, in disbelief that i was hiking up a mountain. "i'm crazy!" and "this is so amazing! i'm so glad i'm here!" stirred around simultaneously. but i've found that it's that exact cocktail of emotions/thoughts/feelings that flag for me that i am alive and well...and on a very good journey. :)
when we finally got to the drop off point, i mustered up an excited smile for this picture. but shortly after, my headache came back with a vengeance.
we finally all made it to the top and caused this hoot, and made it off the peak of the mountain before a big storm rolled through.
and how awesome is this guy? if i hiked up mt. whitney just to see him... it could've been worth it. (he didn't know i took this picture. i was in stealth mode.)
after what seemed like another eternity of the descent (i.e. 98-100 switchbacks and 6,000' drop). we drove to the nearest town, and ate (a lot). this kinda of mass consumption continued for the next couple days...