(Sunday, July 8th – we had no cell service at Onion Valley Campground.)
Last night after 10pm…it was not great. We have really begun to follow the week’s weather reports for the Whitney trail, and every day is calling for rain and/or isolated thunderstorms. I was up all night tossing and turning thinking about lightning and how dangerous it was going to be up so high during “monsoonal” weather. We decided no matter what, we were going to get on the trail – rain or no rain, and see how we felt. I still cried a lot thinking that a summit was probably unlikely. It is so unsafe to be up above treeline in already unpredictable mountain weather, but with forecasted isolated thunderstorms?
After a crabby and restless night, we left our Lake Isabella campground in the morning. We only had about a 2 hour drive to get to Lone Pine. We were set to drop off our camper at Boulder Creek RV resort, pick up our Mt. Whitney permits and an extra bear canister, then head to Onion Valley where we planned to tent camp for 2 nights. We checked weather updates outside of the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center. Still the same. 20% rain Tuesday, 30% storms Wednesday and 40% storms plus wind gusts up to 25mph on Thursday; our summit day. Argh. It’s okay. It’s only Sunday. Maybe it will change some.
We left the small town below where it was 98 degrees. When we got to our campsite at 9,200ft…it was about 70! What a welcome change after the heat we had endured all week. On the way up we saw a HUGE lightning strike. (Edit: Based on the timing, this could have likely been the strike that started the fire.) We shortly after saw a helicopter fly overhead but assumed they were SAR.This is the first time we have ever camped anywhere with bear boxes, so that’s fun. We are making sure we keep a tidy and organized camp.
We both snoozed outside in our chairs for a little bit as the afternoon came on. It got a little chilly. We made a nice fire and some dinner (PLEASE, for the love of all things foodie, try Sasquatch Fuel meals!) The Vegan Beans & Rice was DELICIOUS. For dessert I made their Mango Sticky Rice. So, soooo tasty. This is one of the only backpacking meal companies I feel the rice fully softens appropriately! No crunchy rice.
We finally gave InstaFire a good shot and I will say, we had a big fire going in less than 2 minutes! Great product! We will be carrying this along for all camping and shorter backpacking trips in the future. If you’d like to try it – let me know!!Here’s a couple shots from our spot below. Those clouds were so fluffy!We are hiking up to Kearsarge Pass in the morning to continue to acclimate. It’s a trail I have been wanting to do for so long.