The Wonderful World of Whitney

Rising 10,000 feet from the floor of the Owens Valley, Mt  Whitney is the grand mother of all lower-states mountains, and a major reason for folks to come to Lone Pine, CA. The summit trail (only available to those with a hard-to-get Whitney permit), to the very top of her 14,505 feet, is 22 miles round trip.  There is also a lower section of the Whitney Trail, that links the 4 miles from the high desert valley and the thick pine forests of the Sierras.  If one was a complete badass and had that permit, you could hike those 15 miles in one day.  But, we’re not, and we don’t, (and we don’t feel much like getting cerebral edema) so we plan to enjoy her splendors in more manageable chunks.

To continue our epic acclimatization process before we start working at 10,000 feet in a few weeks, and to be close to the incomparable Whitney, we find ourselves again in our beloved Alabama Hills.   I first read about this area when I was only dreaming about life on the road.  My favorite RV Blogger, Nina of Wheeling It, would come through California Highway 395 at least once a year, and would always stay in this BLM administered, free camping area of unique rock formations.  We stopped through in October as we made our way to the Amazon job and fell in love.  It’s only about 75 miles south of our upcoming summer job, and at about 5,000 feet, so it’s a great place to await the call to make our way to the resort.  Plus, the whole eastern Sierras are a playground of outdoor activities, so we will have plenty to do while we wait.

Even with mountain hiking opportunities all around us, we love going to daily walks in the low hills around us.  This area is a wonderland of fantastical shapes, hidden arches, and climbing paradises.  We enjoy setting off in a different area each time, and discovering the riches.

We are tucked behind a rock outcropping that gives privacy from the main road, but a little notch allows us to get internet access with our booster raised from the roof!

Please note JJ’s new hiking boots; I think he’s starting to look like a mountain man.

Also great views to the White Mountains on the eastern side of the Owens Valley.

The Alabama Hills were the backdrop for about 1 million westerns. Here, JJ looks for bad guys at the Lone Pine Film History Museum.

Yesterday was the first day that we could consider hiking at elevation, as a multi-day snow storm finally came to an end.  We hiked the lower section of the Whitney Trail, and moved from 5600 feet to 8400 feet over 4 miles.  The bottom was a bit cool, and it was snowing by the time we got to the top.  Although the day started out with the mountains completely shrouded, the skies cleared for magnificent views on our way down.

Bundled up to tackle the case of the missing mountains!

Partially frozen waterfall at the top.

A completely different day on the way down. Mount Whitney in the center.

The rest of the week will be much of the same– delightful cool hikes to amazing views.  With clear skies in the forecast, the only thing that will slow us down is the fact that we need to rest a bit between these endeavors!

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Postscript:

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed so many of our friends saying something to the effect of “I am living through you”.  My response to those comments really needs to be its own blog post, but I want to address it a bit now.  Mostly, it makes me sad to hear y’all say that, because it’s a terrible life to keep on doing things that you don’t want to do, and there’s no reason for you to keep from doing whatever it is that you want to do.  JJ and I are not wealthy, brave, or lucky.  We just knew what we wanted to happen, and we eliminated everything in our lives that didn’t put us towards that goal.  Never for a minute think that we have some personality trait that you don’t; you have just as much ability to tenaciously create your own best world.  You just don’t believe it yet.

P.P.S.

If what we’re doing right now geeks you out, please consider coming out to see us this summer.  Our workplace, Rock Creek Lakes Resort is between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, CA, on Highway 395.  There is every kind of outdoor sport imaginable in this part of the world, and plenty of lodging, from free camping to fancy resorts.  We would love to see you, and show you the area that makes us the most excited to be alive.

 

 

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