Friday, October 19, 2012

Inside The Moments: Episode 5 - A Whitney Remembrance

So, life is busy, work is busy, and there's always something going on for me. Sometimes its tough to keep up. I wrote the first five ITM episodes mostly in advance, but today, I was stuck on what to write for this week's episode, so this one's coming to you on the fly. The first thing I did was look at my calendar as I hopped in the car this morning, and quickly it dawned on me, that its been 4 months exactly to the date since I stood atop the summit of Mt. Whitney at 14,505 feet on June 19th. However, it feels like it was an eternity ago, and....

I am dying to get back there again. Not only was just being there amazing, but I think about everything I did for this trip, and how it started way back in February of 2011. All of that time waiting until spring for the lottery results, and all of the time spent researching and planning the trip (while hiking 4000 footers in NH on the regular), made this trip bigger than I could have ever imagined. As a whole, it consumed many months of a single year, not just 3 beautiful days in the Sierra Nevada's. When you read and research for Mt. Whitney, there is so much history and so many stories, that it was hard not to put it up on a pedestal as this magical place that clearly would blow us away. Its a place with rich history and a summit log that contains some important people of past times. With all of that in mind, it was like we had read all about this magical place, and then inserted ourselves to it, and out came an incredible and unforgettable adventure, our very own, for us to always remember.

Many, many, mornings from February to June, checking the Mt. Whitney webcam was a ritual. We saw countless sunrises and amazing shots, but there was nothing quite like seeing that view in person when we arrived in Lone Pine, and then on June 19th, we were a part of that Whitney sunrise we saw so many mornings before. My brother and I talk about this trip on a regular basis. It always comes up...the moments of the trip, huffing and puffing our way down to the open meadow at Horseshoe Meadow - our first time to 10,000 feet ever, the Trail Crest sunrise with Venus and Jupiter, the first sight into Sequoia National Park at Trail Crest, and ultimately, approaching and standing on the summit of the highest peak in the lower United States.

I remember approaching the summit, looking up at the hut, and thinking, are we ever going to make it. It felt as if the last steps were the most difficult, each one requiring its own breath to match. With my GoPro recording, I remember doing a narration for the camera that it was "June 19th, 2012 and we're approaching the summit of Mt. Whitney at 14,505 feet". I added that there were "no words to describe what we see around us right now". That moment I started to speak to the camera, I could feel in my throat and hear through the wind the choking of my voice, as at that point, it was tough to hold back the emotions taking over as we took those final steps to the summit.

I could write an episode about every different moment on this trip, but today, in the spur of the moment four months later, I think back on how such a beautiful place can take over your emotions and thoughts in such a way. I'm looking forward to going back again someday so that I can feel the same way all over again.

To read the trip report and see more photos from my June Mt.Whitney adventure, click here.

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