What I thought would be a generic day to get to the base of Mt. Whitney turned out so much better!
Getting to the Crabtree ranger station shouldn't be too hard. 16 miles with only one big dip and climb.
Phillip and Laura were still packing in their tent when I was fully packed so I hiked out on my own. It was cold!
Halfway up the climb I ran into Ikea. Hadn't seen him since we sat together on the couch on top of Onyx peak, xx days ago. Always nice to run into familiar faces on trail after not seeing them for weeks. But this wasn't the last meeting of the day.
Right before the junction to the ranger station there was a note taped to a bear vault with my name on it.
Roadrunner and Autopilot summited Whitney last night. I figured if they rested a bit after coming down plus the miles of the side trail from their campsite, I might just catch them. I made it to the ranger station a bit after noon and quickly scribbled a note to Phillip and Laura telling that I was going on to Guitar Lake, where Roadrunner and Autopilot camped and taped it to a trail sign.
Right after I ran into them as they were taking a break at the side trail junction. Seeing them both again after unwillingly leaving them behind four days ago really turned a generic day on trail into one of the best so far. The trail works in mysterious ways. We updated eachother about the previous days and future Sierra planning. After a much too long break we went our separate ways. It'll probably be close to two weeks before we meet again due to our different resupply strategies.
Tonight I'll wake up at 2h to summit Mt. Whitney in time to watch the sunrise. It will be freezing cold, well below zero - Celcius that is.