Just a few pics from my recent hike up Mount Whitney. I think this may represent my last strenuous hike. It was a great experience, but it was also an ass-kicker. Going straight from the Ohio Valley to 14,500 feet can wreak havoc with your brain and lungs. But, I summited…and survived to tell.
(Next year, I’m limiting it to a couple days in the Scottish highlands.)
I stayed a second night at Trail Camp on the way down. The wind was just as vicious, and my headache was only slightly better. Blood was now clogging my sinuses.
On the way back to Whitney Portal, and Lone Pine, I hiked with a retired 67-year-old man named Dennis. He and his wife had driven up from Phoenix (his wife stayed in a B&B at Lone Pine). Dennis was a veteran backpacker, but was unable to summit due to allergies and lack of sleep due to the wind at Trail Camp. He, too, admitted he was retiring from strenuous hikes.
After returning to Lone Pine, I rested up in the Dow Villa Motel, which dates to the 1920s, then visited a nearby film museum. I did not know that this area, with its scenic Alabama Hills, is legendary for providing the setting for hundreds of Hollywood Westerns, both silent films and talkies. In fact, many of the greats at one time stayed at the Dow Villa: Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, John Wayne, among others.
After a modest recovery in the relaxing and historic Dow Villa, I hiked for a few days in Yosemite. Then hitched/shuttled to Reno, Nevada to catch a plane home.
In summation, I’ve always thought I was immune to altitude sickness. But I learned otherwise. If any prospective daredevil mountain climbers are reading this, make sure you become acclimated to higher altitudes before attempting any major climb. Severe AMS can cause hospitalization, and even death.
Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to the gentler peaks of Scotland’s West Highland Way.
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