WHITE MOUNTAIN PEAK (14,246') October 8, 1994
Making another car pooling effort to join a DPS trip, the two of us enjoyed fall colors and the sight of new snow on a drive south along U.S. 395.
Somewhere along the line, after a car camp, we met the DPS group, and had to transfer into 4WD vehicles to complete the drive to the regular trailhead. Over a foot of snow had fallen here recently, but our trucks made short work of this, motoring along to the 12,000 foot elevation start. The gate to the University of California Barcroft Lab was open, so we decided in a split second to go through.
Parking at the lab, we saw pens of several animals being used in high-altitude experiments. Risking tickets, although we had warning notices placed on our windshields later, we left our trucks here, then began the snow hike to the top.
Only from one to six inches of snow remained at this elevation. It felt good to be hiking, and while I had done this ascent once before, it is always a different experience to climb a peak again.
Our time to the summit was three and a quarter hours. I took plenty of photos, and the view west toward the High Sierra is always a thrill. We climbed a ladder to the roof of the summit hut, to claim the "highest" point. While it is now locked, once it was allowable to stay inside here overnight for a night's sleep above 14,000 feet.
I shot plenty of group summit photos, then we headed down as the days are shorter. It took two and a half hours to return. Normally, it is an extra two miles each way from a gate at about 11,000 feet elevation. The new snow, however, made for an extra challenge which compensates for the shorter distance.
We made a car stop at Patriarch Grove, the best stand of bristlecone pines, to placate my photography. I asked for ten minutes, whereby I ran about furiously to snap photos. I took a picture of the largest one, the Patriarch. There are the most fantastic-looking snags and individual specimens a short walking distance all about. The others were cold or ill, and tired, and begrudgingly allowed for this.
We motored further down the White Mountain Road, and had a chilly car camp at one of the campgrounds.
The dawn was gorgeous. There were no plans for us on the second day, so I took a tour to Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills for more photography. My standard photo of Mt. Whitney and then, other angles, were taken. I shot many more pictures about the Alabama Hills, then we motored north for a long drive home. A nice sunset graced our view somewhere along U.S. 395, once again.
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