Wednesday, 9/15 6:50 AM 0 miles DAY 24 📍 Guitar Lake
Journal entry: Just as I was about to fall asleep around 7 PM last night ‘Hey Vanessa Renee!” I heard from kinda far. Heading my way? “Vanessa?!” Who TF?! I thought. It’s Firefox lol I ran out of my tent, gave him a big hug, and nearly started crying. “WTF?! I thought you were like 2 days ahead of me.” “I just summited, and ran back down cause a raven got my food.” “I have EXTRA!” lol! We stood up until 10:45 PM under the stars just talking. Talking about traveling different places, living situations. We watched jets as they zoomed by at night looking somewhat like shooting stars. He’s very smart. Knows a lot about a lot. I’d probably be on my way to summit Whitney if it wasn’t a long night and windy this morning. He has actually been hiking with the 3 people I saw at Guitar Lake. Vinny is the only name I remember, he’s the older guy that made fun of my bear canister. Apparently, he’s like 65. Anyways, I cannot believe I ran into Bryan again. He’s out of food and his next resupply is in 25 miles. I’m going to offer my Independence resupply if he cares to journey with me back to my car in Mammoth. Help a hiker get back on the trail, it’s the right thing to do 😊 DK if he’s willing to summit Whitney again tho! LOL!
Story: It was 7 AM when I finally got out of my tent this morning. Although I’m pretty sure I woke up around 6 AM eager to get on the trail and on my way to summit Mount Whitney, but Firefox was still sleeping and I couldn’t just up and leave. I decided that I would offer Firefox my resupply bucket from Onion Valley if he cared to venture back with me to town and retrieve my car. Figured it would be a good deed on my last day, be able to help a hiker stay on the trail and continue his journey.
Since he summited Mount Whitney yesterday, I assumed he would wait for me at Trail Crest and we would hike out together. Instead, he decided to join me and summit Mount Whitney twice! It was bittersweet knowing it was my last day on the trail, and now having a hiking partner join me to the very end. We took our time, I think. At least we were going at a pace that wasn’t too difficult.
I didn’t feel comfortable recording as much as I had been being alone on the trail, so that’s one little regret I have, but also having someone to join me at the top of Mount Whitney was pretty special too. We ran into the 3 people I saw down at Guitar Lake. They made their morning summit, as planned and we caught them coming down. Leaving only us at the top! We must’ve started the trail around 10:30 AM that morning and reached the summit of Mount Whitney at 1:27 PM.
Not only did we spend nearly 3 hours at the top of Mount Whitney, but we decided that it would be best to chill for one more night before getting off trail- and I was all for extending my trip one more day. The 99 switchbacks were nothing I imagined them to be. Of course, hiking downhill is totally different from hiking up, and we caught a glimpse of the sunset as we made our way down. Reaching Trail Camp and I was reminded of my failed Whitney attempt a few years prior. Feeling accomplished and a little badass, I looked back at Mount Whitney one last time before the sunset- my last sunset on the JMT.
It was the first time night hiking on the JMT. We lost all sunlight as we made our way down to Outpost Camp, smoky conditions- and still the only ones on the trail. It was an early night as we’re both tired from the hike down. My last night on the JMT, and now with a hiking partner.