The peak of Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States, reaching an elevation of 14,505. Although we won’t be breaking this type of elevation record any time soon, it is on our list to hike someday. Maybe with a group of brave souls next summer.
We went to Mount Whitney on a whim while we were staying in Lone Pine, CA. We thought we’d better go see at least a little bit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains up close even though we were still zapped from the tedious drive through Death Valley a few days before.
The drive up to Mount Whitney (and back down) was also a bit tedious, even in a regular car. The elevation changes are great and the roads are windy, but once you get there, it’s a spectacular view. Lots of hikers go through the area, back-packing their gear in to stay for a night or two on their hike to the summit. We hiked about a mile up the side of the mountain, a relatively easy hike when you don’t have 20 more miles to go.
Snow-melt around Mount Whitney creates a fast-rushing waterfall near the Mount Whitney campground. We talked to Doug, who runs the general store with his wife for 6-7 months out of the year. He said that the waterfall had a lot less water than usual because of the time of year we were there. Normally there is more rushing water throughout the park area and the sound of the waterfall is even louder. Apparently there are times even within the general store that you have to yell to be heard because of the sound of the water echoing off of the surrounding mountainsides.
As we descended down the windy road from the Mount Whitney campgrounds, the sun was just beginning to set, displaying an array of colors in the sky. Mount Whitney, although holding records as the highest point of elevation in the US, is a hidden gem that not many people explore. It will go on our list as a favorite place to re-visit again someday.
More adventures tomorrow…