August 2004
Backpack trip to the top of Mount Whitney
14,496 feet elevation - Highest spot in the 48 contiguous States

Day 6 Aug 24 15 miles total to Long Lake via up and over New Army Pass 12,300'

The next morning, I waited at Rock Creek for Doug and Don after John departed at 7 AM on his 15 mile hike out. He probably made it in 6 or 7 hours, leaving him a 10-hour drive to Los Gatos. Doug and Don arrived at 11 from their 5-mile rigorous hike from Crabtree Meadows. We hiked back through forest and meadow, under a dark blue sky framing mountains of stone, above lakes, streams, and forests of giant pine. The scenery was new on the return trip. We were facing the other direction and the lighting was just the opposite of the trip out. The strenuous part of the hike was New Army Pass. The trail from Rock Creek- 9,500 ft, to New Army Pass- 12,300 ft. was uphill all the way. We negotiated it with each otherís help, and exhausted at the top, wearily descended the switchbacks on the other side, our shadows growing longer and longer as we approached Long Lake, the site of our first and last camp. A long day for Don & Doug - 7 AM to 6 PM on the trail!

  28 degrees and ice on the tents in the morning was quite a surprise after a nice toasty night in our tents.

Don and Doug had Crabtree Meadows all to themselves.

Don's rigid wash cloth!

Note frost on the bear canister.

Crabtree Meadows was solid white with frost.

An hour into the day's hike Don blew his bugle to celebrate finally cresting a long climb.  We heard a loud "What the..." from below.

We soon encountered the source of the noise - a trail crew. Note gas operated rock drilling tool.  These guys get paid to blow stuff up - cool!

Red spots indicate where drilling will take place.  Wish we had the time to stay for the upcoming dynamite explosions!!  

Mattie, the lovely lass of  the wilderness, loves to blow stuff up too - just like engineers Don and Doug.

Mattie was kind enough to pose with grubby Don and Doug.


Don and Len with Doug's rock art near the top of New Army Pass

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