How do you define the word ‘hiking’? A stroll? Longer than a mile? Two? Carrying a day pack?
I asked that question to at least two hikers high up in the sierra yesterday.
My answer? It’s a sport requiring certain skill sets physically. Meaning a workout. You sweat.
August 17th, yesterday, was the random date to hike (work out) up to Meysan Lake. My first time.
A big glacier fed lake high up at 11,630ft, surrounded by Mallory & Irvine Peaks kissing the clouds.
6 miles up from the road - 13 mile hike total. It tells me that I can day hike at other laterals up hwy 395. Go deeper.
It started back in LP. A man stood waving a $20 on Whitney Portal Road. Score! My gas just got funded!
George his name from Cincinnati, had just got off the JMT and was retrieving his car at Whitney Portal. He had backpacked with a couple of other guys who got blisters.
Answer? Always wear wide shoes for one. And remember heat & pressure carrying all that weight.
Half way up the Meysan Lake Trail now, I passed a 60yr old overweight forlorn backpacker sitting on a rock. He was spent and told me to tell the others already at Meysan. I didn’t. That’s when I saw Charles Sarminto from Chicago bounding up the trail behind me. He was moving with his school book day pack. A single gray haired man with a computer day job. He jogged 6 miles a day on a regular day. And he was in shape. A High Sierra Man. He was on his way to Vegas when he got down. Vegas, the hidden entry to the southern high desert sierra.
He let me tail him up from Grass Lake to Meysan. He had been here before. Of course I had already begun to talk to him non-stop. We passed Camp Lake, where there was a camp right on the trail. Two tents. Gear strewn about. Two women. One was up at Meysan fishing and the other was talking with Charles & me.
I stared at the LPP scree slope with new horrors. I had a better look now. “Sure" said Charles, “I was up there once.” “See that ridge?”.
“You mean that dirt line touching the clouds?”, I reply squinting. “Yes, it drops off vertical on the other side. You skirt the ridge.”
The sun glasses woman casually said they were thinking of climbing LPP. I see the verticals on the other side every day.
The top of scree slope is seen here lit by God. You stay left and then traverse that dirt on top to the left -off screen. Don’t slip. Oh yeah, your feet slip in scree.
Then to the top of Lone Pine Peak. Farther up. And there are false summits. And if you are not careful, you try to come down earlier than this area. Drop-offs. Pay attention to the rock cairns.
It was then I realized. No way. I will not do this. LPP is massive and deadly.
I will leave the peak baggers to their trophies. I still wag my head on how Matt & Steve did it.
But Meysan Lake did not disappoint. A spattering of tents were below this foreground ridge which dropped off 300feet.
I stand off trail above the lake from this vantage. Then you drop down into the basin.
Charles left. He told me of a Mt Whitney view farther up the ridge to the right. The clouds were gathering & moving.
I realized that I still had 6 miles waiting. So I didn’t drop down farther to the Meysan Lake shore and campers.
One more look - this one for Stevie. No way. Triple Star Braveniks only.
This chubby guy followed me back down to Camp Lake.
At 2pm on my way down from Grass Lake a trail runner passed me. He quickly told me he would ‘run?’ up to Mt. Irvine. Looked rocky to me.
As he panted out a “gaah” (an audible noise) on every breath scooting up the steep Meysan Lake Trail I wondered, is this relaxing?
No, all fast hikers can do is look at their feet. Better buy fun shoes to look at.
I lingered going back down. Sitting quietly on the boulder field staring directly at LPP’s smooth granite wall. It reminded me of Cloud’s Rest.
Touching the mountain granite as the trail hugs the sharp canyon down.
Slowly. Sit. Smell. Listen. Like an eagle on the canyon wall.
I hear water. Wind.
Hiking like this is refreshing.
A good workout. And good food waiting at LP117.
Did I mention I don’t like carrying a pack?