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.


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.


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).

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!


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

No comments: