Sunday, September 22, 2019

Workout Recap - Week 38

Sunday, September 15th – Rest day (all of the travel caught up to me and knocked me off my booty... tried to wake up for my long run but was sick all day), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 16th – 165 minute run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, September 17th – 40 minute run + strides and drills, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, September 18th – 11 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Thursday, September 19th – 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

"Ran" errands - one of which was picking up 6 books from the library!

Friday, 
September 20th  70 minute trail run with the hubby


Saturday, September 21st – Rest day


#RealTalk - I am trying not to beat myself up too much about having to take extra rest days and not doing my workouts that were on my schedule. I woke up on Sunday feeling sick (Sunday it felt like the flu - achey all over, but then flipped to a cold complete with non-stop coughing, sneezing, etc starting on Monday and I'm still dealing with the effects of it...). My coach said that it's better to be 100% healthy and 80% trained rather than the other way around... but knowing and believing that seems to be two different things... Here's to hoping my fall goal race isn't completely blown from this...

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday Favorites

The hubby and I are actually out of town camping with friends this weekend {when I said we were on the go-go-go for September I wasn't lying!}, but with the magic of scheduled posts I am able to bring you my favorite finds on FRIDAY even though I won't have access to the InterWebs for much (if any) of the day. I mean, I guess right there - camping and being able to schedule posts - are already two of my favorite things, but let's get into the real list, shall we?!


Mom's Chalk Art


I came across this article on Facebook (who says Facebook doesn't have anything positive on it these days?!) and I LOVED it immediately! Obviously I love the fact that it is in Ann Arbor (if we were to ever move back to Michigan I think we would end up in either Ann Arbor or Detroit), but I love this mom's positivity even more. We need more love, encouragement and chalk in our lives! PS I sort of love that it all started with hopscotch!

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Funny Student IDs


Because the news out of Michigan just keeps getting better, I saw this article and HAD to share it. A teacher friend of ours has been taking outrageous school ID pictures for the last few years, but this Michigan school takes it up a notch... I mean, they are all pretty spot on and hilarious! If only creative ideas like this were allowed back in my day ;)

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Pre-Fab A-Frame Cabin


The hubby and I would L-O-V-E to have a plot of land in the wilderness somewhere and put an a-frame on it... and the pre-fab kits from this article might make the dream a reality (well, we'd have to buy the plot of land first, of course, but, hey, at least when we get the property the building of the cabin would be a little easier than originally expected). I mean, all four of these options are dreamy and I think we sort of need to have at least one of them! And you can't forget about this micro-cabin that can be built in 2 weeks for just over $10,000. Maybe Ryan and I each need one ;)

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ROADiD Pet ID Video


I got an email earlier this week about a ROADiD video that was released for the Pet IDs. Apparently it was breaking the InterWebs so I HAD to watch it, right?! Let's just say that this brand doesn't take themselves too seriously (even though the products that they offer could have a life-saving quality to them). If you haven't seen the ad yet, you may want to give it a go. (Warning - the humor in it may not suite everyone's tastes... but hopefully everyone will appreciate the creativity.)


Los Angeles Animal Overpass


I am super stoked to hear that the Los Angeles animal overpass is finally in the works. The story of P-22 the mountain lion inspired a wave of private donations, and now the world's largest wildlife overpass is officially underway! The 200-foot-long bridge will span a 10-lane freeway north of LA, providing safe passage for mountain lions, coyotes, deer, lizards, snakes and other wildlife. When the freeway went in, it cut off an ecosystem. According to an ongoing National Park Service study, the area’s mountain lions have the second-lowest genetic diversity of any U.S. population, behind only the endangered Florida panther. The hope is this new overpass will allow animals to travel, reproduce and thrive.

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National Parks 2020 Wall Calendar


Although I keep my training plan on a physical calendar on the fridge, I normally just make it using a plain piece of paper and a ruler. Now that I've seen these new National Parks Calendars from Parks Project I may just use a legit calendar. I think my favorite is the "Playing In Our Parks" Calendar, but there is something about the "Protecting Our Parks" Calendar that I love too. Maybe we need one for our office and one for our fridge... that way we can get them both ;)


What are you loving lately?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mt. Whitney Hike: Part III {Adventuring}

Hopefully by now you’ve read Part I {acclimating to elevation} and Part II {hiking the mountain} of our Mt. Whitney hike, but if not, we can take a brief moment and let you catch up. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you, take your time... In the meantime, everyone else can grab a reusable bottle of water and a snack so we can finish out this series strong.

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Alrighty dighty, now that we are all on the same page, let’s continue with our adventure. Technically I guess the “Mt. Whitney” portion of the journey is over, but since the days following our hike were still on the same trip I thought I would include them in the series (just in case you were wondering how we do some “active recovery”).


After we celebrated our hike for a few minutes in the Whitney Portal parking lot, we jumped in the car and made our way up the 395. We love Mammoth and although we weren’t planning on spending a ton of time there this trip (it was a good place to refuel with dinner and camp for the evening), it was still great to get to spend a couple hours in the area.

Got the tent up as the sun was setting on another amazing day

Couldn't decide if I liked the picture better with or without the light on in the tent... so you get both ;)

Usually we are pretty good about being prepared for what is in the forecast, but because we weren’t planning on being in Mammoth for more than a couple hours and because we were pretty beat from our hike that morning, we didn’t really pay attention to what the temperatures were supposed to be Sunday evening... Well, as I’m sure you can guess since I am making a point to mention it - it was COLD! We woke up and it was 28*. Thankfully we have a decent tent and sleeping bags so we weren’t uncomfortable sleeping, but man, when we got out of the tent to pack up our bare hands and feet were FROZEN! Obviously the cold didn’t effect the cows any, because they seemed to be just as happy as can be, but then again they were SUPER LOUD, so maybe they were, in fact, complaining about the chill in the air the entire time.



The "fog" on the righthand side of the picture is actually steam coming off of the hot springs.

BLM Land is our favorite!

This video is funny because of the cows AND because when I have my camera on selfie the microphone sucks so you can't really hear what I'm saying... so normally you'd turn up the volume... and then the moo'ing at the end is extra loud:



Frost on the top of the car after a chilly night.



The game plan after putting the tent in the car was to head to Yosemite. I’m not sue if you’ve been to Yosemite National Park before, but it is one of our favorite places to go (minus the insane crowds that can swarm the park in the spring and summer). We had never entered the park from the Tioga Pass because it is normally closed due to snow, so we were stoked to check out a new-to-us part of the park and see some things we hadn’t seen before.

We had never come in this side of the park before so we obviously had to stop at the visitor center!

If you are hiking the JMT there is a wilderness office nearby to pick up your permit.

We did a quick walk to Soda Springs, which is actually a really interesting natural phenomenon where carbonated springs bubble up from below the earth’s surface (scientists can’t explain it). It is actually the area where John Muir had the original idea to preserve the area and make it a protected space. While checking out the springs we even saw a “real” cowboy who was coming back on the John Muir Trail with a mule train from supplying different locations along the trail.

The views did not suck!



Because we came in from a different entrance, we were able to see the park from a different perspective and stop along the way to enjoy different views. I mean, we were even able to see Unicorn Peak! And stop to see Half Dome and the valley from Olmsted Point. Sure, there are some tried and true things we enjoy doing every time to can make it into Yosemite (visiting the falls, driving around the valley to see all the famous rock climbing, etc), but we were also stoked to broaden our horizon (and made mental notes of what else we’d like to do on future trips).

The view from Olmsted Point (with Half Dome in the distance)

We did a great job blocking the views... oops!

If you couldn't tell, we love our photos of Half Dome.

Even though Yosemite was maybe only an hour away from where we stayed in Mammoth (yay for more BLM land and free camping), it probably took us three-ish hours to get from the entrance to the valley floor with all of our detours and stops. Around noon we rolled up to the Upper Pines Campground and thought we’d try our luck to see if they had any open spots for the evening (we were hoping that because my birthday was the following day that maybe the camping gods would be looking down on us ;)). Well, apparently Yosemite does their reservations a little different now (I don’t know how long it’s been like this - we just figured you could roll up to the different campgrounds to see what they had available - but apparently that is NOT the case). Now you have to go to the Camping Reservations Office and put your name on a list. At 3pm they will release all of the cancellations that they have and give them out to the folks who are there. Well, let’s just say the people who were number 1 and 2 on the list were at the office before 6am... that they only had 15 cancellations for the day (which apparently was high because the day before they only had 8)... and we were about number 30 on the list... Whomp, whomp, whomp. No campsite luck in our future - bummer-ruski!

It's nice that they streamlined the process... even if it means we didn't get a camp site for the night...

Driving around the valley, checking out the park.

We hiked over to Lower Yosemite Falls while we were waiting for the camp sites to be released.

And obviously I couldn't pass on another opportunity to photograph Half Dome - HA!

Although we were bummed we couldn’t get a spot, we weren’t going to let it bother us (especially since it was our fault for not booking accommodations before we arrived in the first place). We decided we‘d head up to Glacier Point (because you can see almost a quarter of the park from that spot and the views are unreal) before leaving the park for the day.

The view from Glacier Point. You can see Nevada and Vernal Falls on the righthand side and Half Dome on the left.

We don't look half bad for having not showered for four days, right?! 

I’m not sure why, but the hubby had in his mind that he wanted to head to Bass Lake to check it out and see if we could grab a camp spot. Neither of us had been there before, but we figured we’d give it a go. Thankfully the Lupine-Cedar Bluff Campground had plenty of spots and we were able to pull in just before sunset to snag one.

There were a ton of campsites available when we arrived so we had to pick of the campground.

We liked this site because of the peak-a-boo view of the lake.

We would absolutely come back to this campground again.

I’ve never seen it, but as we were driving to the lake a lightbulb went off in the hubby’s head and he said he thought it was where The Great Outdoors was filmed. We chatted with the camp hosts about it, and he was spot on. He was geeking out about it since he had just watched the movie again a few months back and was excited to check out the area.

Forcing the hubby to try and get a "decent" picture of the two of us ;) 

I thought this rock looked like a heart!

This is more like it ;) 

After setting up our tent and snapping a couple pictures, we walked over to the lake to enjoy the views as the sun set. It might not have been Yosemite (which holds a very, very special place in our hearts), but it was pretty spectacular. We both mentioned we’d absolutely be down to come back to experience more of the area in the future.

The sunset didn't disappoint us!

What a great way to cap off an amazing trip!

Trying to be a little artsy with my sunset shot ;)

I apologize in advance for the hubby's voice interrupting the serene feel of this sunset video ;)



Waking up Tuesday morning at Bass Lake was much more enjoyable than Monday morning in Mammoth because the temperature was probably 25 degrees warmer. We were a little bummed because we knew our trip was coming to an end (the hubby was able to shift his Labor Day Weekend to Monday and Tuesday of the following week because he had to work on a photo shoot Sunday and Monday of the previous week), but we were grateful for the time we had.

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It’s always a little sad when your vacation is wrapping up - even if the thought of taking a shower after not having one for four days was extra enticing. We didn’t have a ton planned for Tuesday, other than driving the six-ish hours back home, but we still soaked up every free moment that we could (even if that meant getting in a couple naps for the hubby while I was driving through stop and go traffic in LA - but, hey, it wouldn’t be a true road-trip without the hubby falling asleep and blaming his nap on being rocked to sleep like a baby by the car motion).

Different day, same situation... Stuck in traffic and the hubby sleeps through it all...

Oh yeah, and if you follow me on social media, you probably noticed the QUICK turnaround before I left again after this trip. We got home at 4pm on Tuesday and I was on my way to the airport to Seattle for a Brooks trip less than 36 hours later (yes, just in case you were wondering, I spent the majority of my 35th birthday driving, unpacking, doing laundry, meal prepping and re-packing… it was cray-cray, but we had the few days before to enjoy nature, life and each other).

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PS Am I the only one who thinks that packing is THE WORST part of traveling?!

With that, I guess we conclude our Mt. Whitney Hike and subsequent adventure/ vacation. I will be posting about my trip to Brooks HQ in another couple days and our next camping trip (which is coming up this weekend already) soon, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled on my social media accounts for the heads up when they go live and check back on the blog so you don’t miss out on the recaps of the excitement. If you’ve stuck through the series this long - you probably deserve a prize of some sort, because, just like the hike, these blog posts were long, strenuous and at times you weren’t sure they would ever end - but YOU MADE IT! CONGRATULATIONS!

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Do you prefer to have your travel pre-arranged or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Mt. Whitney Hike: Part II {The Hike}

If you are just finding this post and didn’t read Part I of our adventure, feel free to check it out HERE. It shares all about how the hubby and I did our best to acclimate to the higher elevations we'd be encountering on our hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney, which is the tallest peak in the continental US, topping out at approximately 14,505 feet above sea level.

We hiked to Lone Pine Lake, which sits at 10,050 feet above sea level the day before to help acclimate and get a lay of the land.

And, if you read the previous post, you know I pressed pause when we were hitting the hay (or the camp pads) early Saturday evening in preparation for our Sunday morning hike. Our plan was to wake up around 2:30am so we could be on the trail by 3. (It takes us about 15 minutes to roll up sleeping bags, deflate our sleeping mats, take down the tent, pack everything in the car, etc, so that'd give us another 15 minutes to change, eat breakfast and use the potty before hitting the trail.) It seems as though most people tend to hit the trail between midnight and 2am if they're doing a single day hike, but the hubby and I were hoping to be faster than the average bear and didn’t think we'd need to leave ‘that’ early. (We did notice headlamps start shining around midnight in the campground, though, so we can attest that folks do head out early.)

Let's get this party started!

Dark pictures rarely come out crisp, but I'll share them anyway because it's a memory! 

Stoked to tackle this mountain!

We didn’t have a goal for the hike, we just wanted to enjoy it (and conquer something that most people wouldn’t even dream of doing). I knew slow and steady would win the race get us to the summit and back down so planned to take our time, stop when we needed to, make sure to fuel every two-ish hours, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, etc.

Our first fuel stop about 2 hours into the hike. PROBAR BOLT Chews are my JAM!

Of course we don’t have a ton of pictures for the first few hours of the hike because it was pitch black out. Well, that’s not entirely true. The sky was clear so the stars were out in full force. It is crazy how bright and brilliant they are when there is no ambient light around to drowned them out. It was hard not to look up and get lost in the sky every so often.

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I have some friends who recently hiked Mt. Whitney so I had been picking their brains as to what to wear for the trek. The weather looked like it was going to be pretty perfect {when we were getting our permit we heard one of the rangers saying this was probably the last weekend before the freezing temperatures rolled in for the rest of the year}, so the hubby and I both decided on shorts (with our long PRO Compression socks), along with a couple layers on top (normally if I get cold it isn’t my knees/ quads that are chilly, so I figured my legs would be okay with less layers, especially since I knew it would get warm in the afternoon sun and I would be thankful I wasn’t wearing pants later in the day).

We kept an eye on the weather from multiple sites. Mountain Forecast and National Weather Service were both helpful!

Obviously weather at high altitudes can change drastically at a moments notice, so we were sure to pack Mylar blankets and other "just in case" items but thankfully we didn’t need any of our emergency equipment on the hike.

I’d say probably an hour or two into the hike I actually started getting a little too warm (on top I had a muscle tank, a long sleeve running shirt and my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket) so unzipped my coat (but still kept it on because I figured it'd be a hassle to take it off with my hydration vest on and figured I’d get cold again soon enough anyway). I'd say I didn’t start getting chilly until we got closer to Trail Camp, but thankfully around that time the sun was coming up so that helped a bit.

There were some wildfires in the valley and you could see the smoke once the sun started to rise.

I thought this water looked like it was the shape of a heart.

Looking back at Trail Camp with the sun rising in the background (you can see the hazy smoke on the horizon)

Can you tell we are excited the sun is making its presence known?!

If you know much about Mt. Whitney, you’ve probably heard of the “99 Switchbacks”. There is a section of the trail, after you hit Trail Camp (where most people who have two-day permits will camp the first night), that is literally 99 switchbacks back and forth across the face of the mountain. The switchbacks help so you aren’t climbing quite as vertical, but man can they be monotonous. Anywho, because we left before the sun came out and because there is free flowing water on the mountain (due to snow melt, lakes, waterfalls, etc) some of the switchbacks were covered in ice. There was actually one section where we had to “skip” a switchback or two and climb off trail because it was safer to go around the slick ice than to slide off the mountain. (I know this might sound a little dramatic, but it was sketchy. I actually had doubts that we were going to make it... but thankfully the ice didn’t last for too long. There were even folks at this point in the hike who decided to abort the mission and turn around because they did not feel comfortable pushing on.) (Note: I do my best to stay on designated trails 99.99% of the time {you never want to impact the environment by crushing the brush, effecting nature, etc}, but this was one instance where I felt like it was better to be off the trail than it was to be on it. Not to mention, we were above the tree-line at this point so there was no nature we were hurting... just a different rock path we were taking.)

The hubby dislikes this photo because his glasses and headlamp are under his beanie, but
I think he looks like an explorer and love the way the sun is shining behind him. 


The higher we got, the colder it got (uh... duh). I was thankful to have my gloves, but probably could have done with an even thicker pair. Once we got past the 99 switchbacks and you have to go on the “backside” of the mountain it got extra windy and chilly (I would say I wasn’t nervous about getting blown off, but the wind definitely had a cut-you-to-your-core chill to it). I brought hand warmers with me and they were definitely put to good use on this section of the hike. (The hubby didn’t have any hand warmers, but did have extra buffs around his wrists he used sort of like mittens to cover his hands.)

Buffs are a must have when you're hiking!

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering about fueling/ food, let me mention it before I forget. The hubby and I tried to eat every 2-ish hours. The first fueling stop we had a serving of PROBAR BOLT Chews (I love the Pink Lemonade flavor and the hubby prefers the Berry Blast, especially since it has caffeine in it). Around four hours in we each had an Uncrustable (the Peanut Butter and Honey on Wheat is my go-to during relay races and ultras!). Six hours in we had the second serving of our chews (each package has two servings, so we just finished our own pack). Eight hours in (we were on our way down at this point) we had some trail mix. Then around the ten hour mark (I know, I know, seems like such a long day, right?!) we munched on dried pineapple. I find it helpful to switch up the types of foods and flavors I am eating throughout long hikes/ runs. Sometimes I do your traditional “fuel”, other times I do “real food”. Sometimes my body craves salty, other times my body needs sweet. I try to listen to what my body is saying, and I always tend to bring way more food than I need because I never know what I will feel like in the moment.

Get in my belly!

After we came aground the backside of the mountain we ran into some friends (how awesome is it to see a friendly face at 14,000 feet above sea level?!)! It was great getting to chat for a few minutes, although we didn’t want to linger long because it was chilly and we wanted to get to the summit (they had started at midnight and were already on their way down at this point). They did give us a heads up on the “snow crossing” we would be coming to… WHAT THE WHAT?! I mean, I remember my friends who did the hike a month or so before mention a sketchy snow pass towards the top, but I was hoping that it had melted in the meantime... Apparently it had not... The hubby got a picture on the way down, after I had already gone across it (TWICE - once on the way up and once on the way down), and it is hard to tell from the photo, but it was fairly sketchy. Because the sun was up at this point, it seemed like the top layer was now ice, which made it slippery and I was freaking the frick out. There were some little grooves that you could make your way across, and thankfully I had trekking poles to plunge into the snow to try and stabilize myself, but man I was pretty nervous.

Like I said, the snow may not look that crazy in the background, but I was freaked out!

Thankfully once we made it past the treacherous snow (okay, again, it might sound dramatic, and maybe it wasn’t a big deal to some folks, but I just kept pictured myself sliding off the side of the mountain and honestly thought maybe I came that far to only come that far) it was smooth sailing to the summit. Well, maybe that's a little wishful thinking. The winds were howling and you sort of had to hunker down a bit when the gusts would blow, but eventually we made it to the hut!

I FREAKIN' DID IT!!

We jumped into the hut for a few minutes to warm ourselves before making our way to the tippy top to snap a few photos.

Trying not to get blown off the edge ;) 

The smoke from the wildfires made the views less than perfect, but I don't care!

(FYI: There is no official sign at the top of the peak {I believe it has been stolen and not replaced}, so I made my own on a piece of cardboard {thank you, Amazon Prime box} and packed it in my hydration vest to bring with us on the climb.)


After we got our pictures it was time to hit the trail again. Don’t get me wrong, I would've loved to stay up on the summit to soak in the moment longer, but the cold (it was probably 25* and 50mph wind gusts) played a role in our quick departure.

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Originally the hubby wanted to run some of the downhill, but I told him I think I would prefer to hike. My thought was that I had everything to lose and nothing to gain. You see, for me, it didn’t matter if we finished the hike in 10 hours or 14 hours, but I didn’t want to potentially injure myself and not be able to run my fall goal marathon. He was a little disappointed because he loves bombing downhill, but I think he understood (and eventually enjoyed the extra time with his wife ;)).

I loved seeing the snow patches pop up along the trail. 



It was great getting to see everything we “missed” in the dark (not to mention when the sun came out it definitely helped to warm up the temps!). We even saw a couple marmots at Trail Camp (the ranger who was checking us in the previous day said they have been getting so bold that it has been reported that when people sit down to take a break, they’ll actually climb on a hiker’s bag WHILE THEY ARE STILL WEARING IT to see if they can get food out of it!).

They're like giant squirrels... 

The views are pretty spectacular on the hike (although during the 99 switchbacks it can feel like you are sort of on the moon, with all the barren rock and lack of much around). I know some people say that when you day hike Mt. Whitney you are missing the views because you are doing some of the journey in the dark, but I definitely didn’t feel like I missed anything since we were able to see everything on the way back down the mountain in the daylight.

Looking down at Lone Pine Lake.

Also, once the sun came out, it started melting the ice on the trail, which meant it was more like slush and made it much more walkable so we didn’t have to veer off the trail again. We were even able to de-layer around the switchbacks!

We appreciated when the sun came out and started to warm us up.



We saw that with taking our time and even without running (we didn’t push the pace and took as many stop breaks to either catch our breath or just enjoy the views as we wanted) we would probably finish right around 12 hours - SCORE!

I WAS JUST UP THERE!!

The stream looks like mud, but it was so clear and gorgeous!

Can you believe I was up on this peaks in the background just a couple hours before?!

Again, we didn’t have any time goals, but we were pretty proud of keeping it around a 33 minute per mile pace. (Side note: My COROS APEX Watch had us at 21 miles {and I had to walk around the parking lot a bit to even hit that} while the hubby’s Garmin Fenix had us closer to 23.5 miles. The official info says 22 miles, so I guess we split the difference ;))

We started just before 3am, finished just after 3pm, got in 21 miles (on my watch... 23.5 miles on the
hubby's), climbed close to 7,000 feet in elevation and crossed a major item off my bucket list! 

By the time we were getting close to the end, the hubby was spent (more from being on his feet for 12 hours than anything else), but surprisingly I felt great. I’m not sure if it was the acclimation to the elevation, my cardio base or just the luck of the day - but I was pleasantly surprised my body held up as well as it did. (FYI: I used CBD salve on my lower back and took caffeinated acetaminophen before we started, but did not need to use any additional “aid” throughout the hike.)

AWWWWWWWW YEAH!!

WHOOOO HOOOO! We did it! I don’t think I ever questioned whether or not we would actually finish it once we started (although there were a few hairy moments on the ice and snow), but I was more worried how I'd feel during the journey. It was amazing to have the hubby along with me for every step. I couldn’t have picked a better {life} partner if I tried ;)

WE DID IT!!

Once we clicked our watches off, it was time to grab our goodies from the bear box, take off our shoes and revel in our accomplishment for a moment. It definitely felt great to sit down for a minute. We each cracked open a Local Roots Kombucha to celebrate (#RealTalk - we normally would have enjoyed the “hard” kombucha, but because we didn’t have a ton of food in our stomachs we thought it might be best to save those for after we had a real meal.).

Scrum-didily-umptious!




And, because I am sure a ton of you are wondering (just kidding, but there might be one or two of you), neither of us needed to use our WAG bags while on the hike. Thankfully we were each able to “relieve” ourselves in the restrooms before we set out for the morning and were able to ‘just urinate’ on the side of the trail throughout the day.

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Oh yeah, and the last thing to mention, because this is also important - water. The hubby and I both had 2 liter bladders in our hydration vests, as well as two 20 ounce soft flasks in our front pockets. We were able to “get away” with not having to refill on the trail, but I think that's because we weren’t drinking a ton in the morning when it was still cooler and dark. We did pack iodine tablets to purify water (enough for each of us to refill our bladders and extra bottles), but didn’t need to use them. There's water along the trail (streams and lakes) to refill and although some of it looks like it could be pristine enough to drink from, I'd definitely recommend treating it in case it has become contaminated by inconsiderate hikers.

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Hopefully my excitement for crossing off this HUGE accomplishment from my bucket list comes across in this post - if not, let me tell you I am STOKED to have been able to tackle my first fourteener and do it with my bestest friend by my side.

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I am surprised to say this, but the hike was actually not as difficult as I was expecting, but I believe that had to do with my fitness level, taking it slowly, listening to our bodies, fueling and hydrating properly and acclimating to the elevation as best as we could ahead of time. If you’re considering hiking Mt. Whitney, I would absolutely recommend it - but make sure to prepare for it ahead of time! (I say go the single day route if at all possible - it might make for a longer day, but the benefit of not having to carry so much with you far outweighs the inconvenience of extended time on your feet, at least in my opinion.) This is definitely not a hike to be taken lightly (especially with the weather, trail conditions, etc) - you must train for and respect the mountain, but the accomplishment is pretty amazing if you are able to conquer it!

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What is the last thing you crossed off your bucket list?