Sadie was adamant that the front bed of the Aliner was meant for her so, I decided that the dinette was superfluous and dropped it into the bed position. I slept better in the wider bed, Sadie was content to have space to stretch out, and Molly, the red-headed step-child, still slept on the floor. (She did have a rug)
Tara wanted to climb a portion of the the upper section of the Whitney Portal Trail though permits were not being issued to day hikers. Being from a long line of scofflaws, she was not deterred. Babs and I chose to again hike the lower portion, only this time we started from the top, thinking we would see the part we had missed the day before. What a great idea!
The upper portion of the lower part of the Whitney Portal Trail (are you with me so far?) starts a gradual descent along the creek, winding through widely spaced trees and box car-sized boulders. It is absolutely lovely! But the trail quickly grows steeper as it attempts to keep the stream, which is now more of a waterfall, in sight. Babs, having the advantage of nine more years of attaining good sense, said she would turn back, in keeping with her understanding of her limitations. I was enjoying the descent in spite of my aching knees, and the glimpses through the trees of the valley , thousands of feet below, lured me on. Molly and Sadie forged ahead, stopping at each switchback to wait for me. They know the rule is that they must remain in sight.
After an indeterminate amount of time (time flies when you’re having fun), I felt a pang of guilt at the thought of my sister waiting on the side of the trail above and turned back. I’d gone only about 50 feet up the trail when I realized it was REALLY steep. After a couple of switchbacks it dawned on me that my knees were REALLY sore. And then, gasping like a fish out of water, it became excruciatingly clear that the air was REALLY thin! I attached the leash to Sadie’s collar and encouraged my indefatigable, Klingon dog to pull. After a few yards, she balked. This was not what she had signed up for.
There was naught to be done but put ‘er in low and grind up the trail, gasp, wheeze, cough, pause, and repeat. I was soon distracted from the discomfort by the spectacular scenery and I reminded myself of my mantra: There is no place I would rather be; there is nobody I would rather be with; and there is nothing I would rather be doing.
I found Babs enjoying her own pace and taking photos. Her knees were fine, and she was ready to explore some more. I gamely pretended to be enjoying further hiking.
The drive down the Whitney Portal Road is as exciting at the Horseshoe Meadows Road; so, I pulled out on a turnout to admire the view of the valley. There was a motorcyclist already stopped there, taking a picture of his dog and his motorcycle. I offered to snap one of the two of them and he accepted the offer gratefully. He pulled off his helmet and wondered if his hair looked matted. Who would notice with this handsome companion?
By dinner time, I was ready to kick off the hiking shoes and pour a glass of wine. It seems that alcohol is more effective at elevation because we nursed one bottle over three nights. Either that or we’re cheap dates. I made spaghetti while Babs chopped peppers, onions, cucumbers, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and raisins for a mixed green salad. For dessert, we splurged on a chocolate, almond, butter tart, compliments of Trader Joes. Tara again carried the dirty dishes back to her trailer and returned them clean for the next day’s supper. I LOVE that girl!