Ask me about hiking to Californiaâ€™s Mt. Whitneyâ€™s 14,505 feet summit, the highest peak in the United States (outside of Alaska).
â€œSo, Larry, how was it tackling ole Whitney?â€
â€œRugged. Miles of uphill and the oxygen thinner with each step. Went with a group and we did the trip in two days. On the first day we reached 12,000 feet and camped in a stark, treeless meadow with granite spires looming above like skyscrapers in a stone city. And there, as we set our tents for the long alpine night, in the merry month of August, snow started fall–â€
Stop me before I exaggerate too much.
That backpack adventure with a church group long ago was a grand time. I retain vivid memories, and Iâ€™ll happily boast about the mountain beauty and my hardy companions. But Iâ€™ve told the story in the past to folks who were sometimes interested and sometimes bored, and almost always I casually (but emphatically) mention the August snowfall. I donâ€™t dwell on the white stuffâ€”I might even add that a late summer snow wasnâ€™t unusual in the high countryâ€”and Iâ€™ll quickly move on to the other adventures.
But was there really snow? Was there cold, white danger in the high country? Continue reading →