Highest elevation
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 12
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6.12.08
I came to the Mt. Whitney trail spur at about 10:30 this morning.  I sat down, had a snack
and thought about going up.  It was only 8 and one half miles to the summit.  I decided to
leave all my gear in the bearbox at a nearby campsite and make a quick trip up and down
with just my camera, water bottle, and warm clothes.  I decided if I didn't reach the summit
by 4:00 I'd turn back to as not to spend a potentially deadly night up high with no gear.
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It got harder and harder to breathe as I neared the top.  With two miles to the summit, I left
my backpack on the side of the trail and went up with only my camera.  I had a coughing fit
with about half a mile to go and coughed up a little blood.  I sat down for a minute, then
pushed on to the top.
The climb was beautiful.  I walked for two miles along a fast moving stream that flowed
through clear blue lakes.  Then I started the long hard climb up the mountain.  The trail
wound through countless switchbacks and on narrow ledges along heart stopping cliffs.  
The view got better and better as I climbed to the top of the world.
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It felt amazing to reach the top.  There was a small stone hut built by the Smithsonian
Institute in 1909 and views to die for.  Unfortunately, even though I had met a few hikers
headed down, there was no one there to take my picture.  I spent 15 minutes up there and
had another coughing fit.  I decided it was time to head down before I ended up with
Pulminary edima.
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I started down at 3:15 and made it back to my gear at 6:30.  I have a headache and I'm still
coughing a little, but I'm glad I didn't pass Whitney by.  Hopefully, I'll feel better in the
morning.
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