After camping at Saddlebag Lake and hiking Mt Dana (details here), we drove down to Lone Pine and the Whitney Portals campground. The drive was hot and windy, with lots of smoke from the Aspen fire burning near Mammoth. We had planned to do some exploration around the Alabama Hills, but after "rescuing" a guy who's car was stuck in the sand, we decided to head up to the campground and relax for the evening.

The next morning we were up very, very early in order to be on the trail at 4:30am! Amazingly, many people got started even before we did. Since it was still dark, we hiked for an hour or so by the light of our headlamps until the sun was bright enough to illuminate the trail. Watching the walls progressively change colors as the sun rose was really incredible. The trail just kept going up, up, and more up, with very few level sections. It was hard work, but the views and scenery made it worth the effort.

I was at the top around 10:30am, and hung out there for a while to rest a bit and take in the views that seemed to go forever- at least in the directions not impacted by smoke. Despite being clear and sunny, it was quite cold and windy up there, with most people being bundled up against the chill. Once I started back down I didn't make too many stops as I just wanted to get back down and get some dinner and crawl back into my sleeping bag... Interactive topo map at: Mt Whitney map.
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