Day 12 - August 22th
We had another short 12 miles hike today. We had the luxury of shorten our distance now that we were getting close to Mtn Whitney (14,494ft - Southern terminus Join Muir Trail 210.5 miles from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley). Today's hike was about planning how we tackle Mtn Whitney. We wanted to get as close to Whitney basecamp. I initially sold the idea about watching the Sunrise from Mtn Whitney to Cyndi but all was depending where we were on John Muir Trail. Watching the Sunrise from Mtn Whitney was not a bad idea since we wanted to drive back to Yosemite and to finish the first section of JMT (23 miles from Happy Isle to Tuolumne Meadows) the following day. This was one of the lifetime opportunity so we both agreed to do this. It would be challenging for me since i personally never hiked at nighttime, let alone to the tallest summit in the contiguous lower 48 states.
This morning was like most of the morning we experienced so far on JMT. We loved the awesome feeling of the morning hike; pristine of fresh air and the magical of its tranquility. It was a little bit unsual was that we were hovering around 11,000ft at this point on so the landscape was quite unique. We arrived at Guitar Lake around noon. This was where we had our unusual early Dinner at noon! The plan was to go to bed early and wake up at midnight (in almost fullmoon) and to start 4 miles hike up with 2,500ft to Mtn Whitney for Sunrise. We had to reprogram our brains to adapt to the new routine. I personally was not sure i could go to bed at 4pm but we shall see! We were not sure if there was good water source so we filled up extra water for tomorrow breakfast and headed our way further up to Whitney basecamp. We were both again in the race mode since a lot other hikers that we met along the way planning to do the same. We knew there was not a lot of good campsites further away from Guitar lake. Cyndi cracked me up when she said that she felt like " the Amazing race". On the 12th day, our luck of finding perfect campground did not fail. Cyndi found two spots that were so private with rocks stacking up as barrier against the wind and feeling a little extra protection. At 11,000ft, we were very exposed but the view again was spectacular! We could not be happier. It was time to head to bed around 4pm! I was amazed how i forced myself falling to sleep but i did. After I kept twisting and turning for awhile i felt asleep around 6pm. Tomorrow would be a long day! We camped at mile 206 of JMT.