It's the home stretch. I have 486 miles under my belt, with 16 miles to go. It doesn't seem real.
The trek up and over Forrester Pass was no problem. The climb up to 13,100' was relentless but surprisingly gradual. One foot in front of the other. I got an early morning 6:30am start to avoid the afternoon storms, and watched the golden sunlight creep up the mountain side. At the top, I crossed the border into Sequoia National Park and chatted with a new hiking buddy, Clay Shank. Clay rode his skateboard from San Francisco to Yosemite to hike the JMT. Once he's done hiking, he'll get back on his board and ride to Mexico. Nuts.
After Forester Pass, I spent the night along Tyndall Creek, then started working my way across the Bighorn Plateau. I caught my first glimpse of Mt. Whitney looming on the horizon. It was great to see the end point of my hike, but my excitement was tempered, yet again, by the weather. Every time I saw Whitney, she was coated with clouds. I spent the night in another nasty thunderstorm, which didn't blow over until 8:00pm (there goes my theory about afternoon thunderstorms...) If I listen to the rumor mill from other hikers, there was a 40% chance of rain today, 20% tomorrow, and a supposedly clear day when I want to summit Whitney. But I'll believe it when I see it -- rumors out here tend to be infused with wishful thinking and incomplete information. I want to feel triumphant and satisfied as my hike winds down, but the weather adds an anxious edge to it. 14,505' is no place to be during a thunderstorm, and it would really suck if after all this I can't make it to the summit. And even if I can't summit, I still have to get over a 13,460' pass, which isn't much better. We'll see.