Day 54, Mt Whitney - Today was my toughest on trail so far, full of the most amazing scenary and high emotions. Mt Whitney is the highest mountain in the contiguous US at 14,505ft (4421m). It's a side trip from the PCT and hiking it had been one of our big goals of our trip. At 4am we set off on the 15 mile round trip from our base camp to the summit. The beams from our head torches lit up beautiful frozen lakes as we climbed under a thin crescent moon. An hour or two in, as we crossed in our crampons the suncupped snow fields surrounding Guitar Lake, the sun started rising. Being surrounded by such huge, jagged granite mountains amongst the cotton candy sky was humbling and the views were the best we'd seen all trip. After a bit of rock scrambling, we made it to the summit mid-morning 😀.
There was signal at the summit so I booted my phone up to let the fam know we had made it & were safe.
We had a voice message from @pctsam's mum, Jac, who is looking after Roux, our dog, while we hike. The message was premised with 'This is important - sit down and listen together'. Roux ran off while on a walk. Jac was looking for him in the fields they walk in, but it looks like Roux tried to take himself home for some reason. He didn't make it. Roux was hit by a supermarket delivery van as he ran across a road. The van hit his side, the impact shattering his shoulder & hip. A neighbour who ran out when they heard the impact said Roux got up & tried to limp away before collapsing on the sidewalk. I'm balling my eyes out by this point. All our tissues / toilet paper are rationed, so my jumper sleeves became a giant tissue, soaked with snot and tears. Roux will be okay - we're still waiting to hear if he needs a hip replacement, but he's lucky to be alive. We stayed on the summit discussing vet options with Jac before starting our decent in the early afternoon. We got back to camp at 630pm. The hike back down was slow & somber through lots of soft, soupy snow. I had a migraine from all the crying & went to bed. If anyone wants to see photos of Roux, there are lots on my IG from pre-PCT. He's a beautiful boy. And big thanks to Jac for all she's doing to care for him ❤️