I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread. We could hear more people crossing Wallace Creek next to us as we lay in our sleeping bags and I knew that would be us soon. Damn, another crossing after going down in Wright Creek 2 days ago. I told Daddie Gizmo I wanted to pack up and get it over with as quickly as possible. This was only one of the challenges we had ahead of us today that worried me. I dressed in everything but pants and we went to the creek edge. The water was moving much faster than I was comfortable with and I was really really nervous, but I put one foot in front of the other and stepped in the water. DG waited in the middle for me and as soon as the high pressure water hit me I started to get so nervous and scared that I told him I was going back. I started screaming over the water “I can’t do it”. DG said I had to and he would help me. He stood in front of me and broke the pressure of the water flowing at me and then pulled me to the other side. Feeling the rushing water up to my mid-thigh brought back all the fear from two days ago and I froze up. Thankfully DG was there to give me the kick in the ass I needed. When I got to the other side of the creek I sat down and cried. I let out all the fear that I had and the flashbacks of going down Wright Creek that came back. We had a big day ahead of us to get out of these mountains so we dried off and set out. Unfortunately, we had an icy climb ontwo north sides that morning which we had already descended days earlier. It’s a little defeating going back over the steps you already took. I was not feeling good about the ascent because I only had one pole, but we put our crampons on for the first time and kicked those climbs asses. The crampons are great and we went straight up with ease. Easier than coming down even. And with one pole! We were feeling good that we had accomplished the creek crossing and climbed the north faces but knew there was lots more to go.
We thought if we stopped at the ranger station on the way to Mt Whitney we might be able to get another hiking pole for me. Down the mountain we went only to find that you had to cross a large creek to get to the ranger station. As luck would have it, we ran into another hiker, Duke, who was heading that way. Sweet guy. When we explained the situation he offered to bring us back a pole if the rangers had one. In the meantime we had a little lunch, chatted with other hikers and rested. An hour and a half later Duke came back and put a huge smile on my face when I saw he had not two but three poles in his hand. My hero. Yes – back to two poles and feeling like a million bucks!! Knowing we were going to climb the highest mountain in the 48 contiguous states the next day, we wanted to cover more miles today to make the climb easier tomorrow. These were not easy miles ahead of us. Again we were using crampons to get across slushy snow. We were both exhausted and wanted to be done but knew every step we took now made tomorrow easier. And tomorrow is already going to be hard. Finally we got 4 miles through the path to the Whitney Junction and found a tiny spot without snow where we could camp. It wasn’t flat and we slid down the tent all night but it was worth it! The view was sensational!! We felt really good about what we accomplished today, a day we were calling our survival trek out of the mountains. My leg wasn’t bothering me too much from the creek debacle, but Daddie Gizmo’s other knee is really hurting him. Together, we are making it. We snuggled in our sleeping bags, watched the sunset and listened to an audio book. Life is good 😊