Mt. Whitney has situated its 14,505 foot mass among a handful of other granite behemoths in the southern part of the high Sierras. It is the highest mountain in the continental United States and presents an early challenge for Northbound PCT hikers almost immediately after we emerge from the desert. Although it is not exactly on the PCT, our Thru-Hiking permit allows us to leave the PCT and hike an 8-mile side trail up to its summit.

 Mt Whitney looms above the small town of Lone Pine, California where we resupplied and rested before our summit and next section of hiking.

Many eager hikers like to trek up in the dark to greet the extreme cold and first rays of sunshine for the new day. I decided to enjoy the views both directions and with Bob and Tom, we hiked up in daylight as a day-hike with a gloriously empty pack. 

The trail into its base was amazing with flowers and marmots galore! 

Then we climbed for several hours, feeling the elevation every step of the way! 

Finally, we reached the summit and basked in unending 360 degree views of the Sierras, Owens Valley and the desert beyond! 

Once again my will, and the stamina of my ankle amazes me. This was a big goal of mine and I did it! I’m really proud of myself!