I became obsessed with the High Sierra about 2 years ago after watching a documentary called “Mile…Mile & A Half.” It follows a team of photographers, filmmakers and adventurers for 25 days along the John Muir Trail (JMT). They finish their journey on top of Mt. Whitney, which is the southern endpoint of the 211-mile JMT.I’ve since seen this film probably 50 plus times. I play it for background noise, I watch it when I am seeking inspiration and frankly; it’s just so beautiful and scenic that sometimes I just put it on to relax and daydream. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
For readers who aren’t much familiar with Mt. Whitney, I’ll fill you in briefly. Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain not only in California, but also in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505ft. It is part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range located within Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest.
Fun fact: both the highest point in the Lower 48 (Mt. Whitney – 14,505ft) and the lowest point in the Lower 48 (Badwater Basin @ Death Valley National Park – 282ft below sea level) reside in the same county! I’ve been so restless since finding out we got our permit. The last handful of days I have been watching every YouTube video, reading every blog/article I can find, dog-earing every book I own, joining every Facebook group Whitney related. I want to be fully educated on the trail as far as landmarks, what to expect, early symptoms of AMS…etc.
I have a lot of work to do physically. I woke up today and stepped on the scale. -28 pounds lost since October 24th.
Not good enough. I started this lifestyle change in preparation for this trip when it was a potential. Now, it’s a reality.
I need to drop at least 15 or 20 more pounds and then tone, strengthen and build stamina. I’ve maintained the weight I’ve lost very well but I’ve been slacking…it’s time to get strict!
I have 3 months and 12 days to do this. Completely attainable…although it’s all mental for me. I have got to overcome my self doubt and make sure that I am not the reason we don’t make it to the top. The number one thing I worry about however, isn’t being able bodied – it’s the elevation. We will be coming from Illinois. Our town sits at 420ft elevation. That’s a MASSIVE difference! People do it often and acclimate accordingly so I know it’s possible, but the highest we have ever been is between 7,000 – 9,000ft (with no incidents thankfully.)
One of the reasons we are driving to California for this trip, is not only so we can take our time getting there – but we will have a full week to leisurely drive and stop along the way in Colorado and Utah to day hike and sleep at altitude, then continue to California and do the same a few days before we enter the Mt. Whitney Zone. Our permit will allow us 3 nights and 4 days on the trail (if needed). I do not want to be miserable nor did I want to set us up for failure so we opted for a backpacking trip. This way, we also get to enjoy the scenery and take everything in at a comfortable pace.
I want to apologize in advance for the future of my blog, hah! I will be on a Whitney high for quite a while so keep a lookout if you’re interested in following our preparation journey. Eeeek!