Reaching for the Sky: Climbing Mount Whitney

Once upon a time, I lived in Southern California and took advantage of the state’s mild climate by vowing to hike as many miles as I could and summit as many non-technical peaks as possible. My ultimate goal: the 14,505-foot (4,421-meter) summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 contiguous United States.

Although there are several approaches to Whitney’s rocky summit, the most well-trod route is via the simply-named Mount Whitney Trail. Hundreds of hikers tackle the route each summer day, making the Whitney permit business a lucrative one.

It was more years ago this very month than I’d like to admit when I made the climb. How long ago? Put it this way: the pictures I took that accompany this article were on a non-digital camera! (This fact is no doubt reflected in their poor quality.)

But I did it! In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll share my story and give you the latest information on the permit process. If the hike itself interests you, think about some training hikes you’d like to pursue to get ready; it’s never too soon to start preparing for a Whitney hike or climb.

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My (Not Quite) Coast-to-Coast Trip Report

I have been living in Gringolandia for a month now, and the Mexico City chapter of my life is over.  This reality only fully set in a few days ago, and I’m filled with mixed emotions.  Alas, it is what it is.

My return to the U.S. began in Los Angeles, where I spent a few days running errands – monetary and such – and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in almost two years.  I even made it to the beach!  From LA, I cleaned out my storage space, loaded everything onto a U-Haul, and drove cross-country to my new home in eastern Tennessee.

The journey went without incident, but it had some logistical challenges and cost more than I expected.  As such, I thought you’d appreciate a brief write-up, Loyal Reader.  Hopefully it’ll provide some insight should you ever have to make a similar move yourself.

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