Mt Whitney – Part 1

The day has come for my next adventure.

Monday, 14 August 2017

I had some mixed emotions as I pulled out of the garage to begin this trip to Mt. Whitney. I wanted to do the hike, but I have only been in my condo for a little over two weeks and I’m still putting my mark on it. Everything is unpacked but not all the pictures are hung. Plus there are a couple of things that need to be fixed.

It took longer to pack than I expected. Partly because the temps on Mt Whitey are expected to drop to the low 30’s so that required dressing for more than one season. I also had all the hiking gear, food for a longer road trip and some other stuff. Being the minimalist that I am, the condo was beginning to look empty by the time the Jeep was loaded.

The first of several fill-ups. This one was in Clarksville

You also should know that the twelve days I’m going to spend getting to Whitney are not well planned. When I set down with a map of the lower forty-eight and used Google to calculate the distances between the things I wanted to see, the trip was going to take 3 months if not longer. After some serious parsing, I planned the following:

The Badlands of South Dakota
Worland, Wyoming (near Yellowstone) to visit Len Canella
Olympic National Park, Washington
Highway 101 down the coast
Mt Whitney

The trip home is still a mystery.

I plan to get some hiking in at the Badlands and at Olympic but I’m already worried. My partner on the Whitney climb is going through Colorado and he plans to practice on some 14,000 peaks there. I can only hope I will be ready.

Since the trip doesn’t really start until I reach the Badlands, I’m making some re-positioning moves to get there. Today, I drove 580 miles and stopped in Kansas City. I also wanted to start boon docking. I used an app on my phone to locate a free campsite which happened to be at a Wal-Mart just off the interstate so it was enroute. This was a pleasant experience that made my perception of Wal-Mart a little more positive.

Pull-thru campsite; not too shabby for free!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

This was another long day of driving. I got an early start and the trek up I29 to Sioux Falls was completed by lunch. A couple of notes: I didn’t really know there was that much corn and though the vegetation changed, I wasn’t seeing the prairie I expected. It wasn’t that different from Tennessee.

I then made a hard left on the map to begin the east to west on I90 across South Dakota. Here the landscape changed dramatically. It was so tempting to make frequent stops and look at some of the roadside attractions. I tried to sync those with bathroom breaks and pit stops for gas (for Richtrofen).

One of the best stops was at a Lewis and Clark memorial. It seems that when the Expedition reached the location where Chamberlain, South Dakota is today, they setup camp for awhile. They called it Camp Pleasant.

This is the view the Expedition would have had less the man-made additions.

I know that Wyoming is “Big Sky Country” but South Dakota ranks pretty big too. It is similar to being at the beach. The land is so flat you can see the horizon wrap around you. After leaving the L&C exhibit, I ran into rain. You could see it coming for miles.

The photo doesn’t do it justice. The colors were very distinct.

After poking along through a hard rain, I looked in the rearview mirror to see one of the prettiest rainbows I have ever seen. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

Most of my campground experiences will be of short duration. I wanted to stay at Custer State Park but had to settle for Angostura State Park instead. After a getting misguided for a while I didn’t arrive at the campsite until after 9. I’ll be here two nights so I’ll withhold judgment until I leave.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

My first day as a tourist, I decided to go to Mt Rushmore. I won’t bore you with my reasons for making this my first stop but suffice it to say that everyone passing this way has to get the obligatory photograph.

I can feel myself slowing down, unwinding, weighing my priorities and then discarding half of them. I got back for Rushmore about 1:30. I ate a little, read on my book (Nevada Barr, Burn), closed my eyes and rested for about an hour, then decided to continue to prepare for Whitney. Since there are no elevations here on which to train, I decided to increase my distance: 11.19 miles, 3 hours 43 minutes. I would have to push the time down to do another half marathon. The Badlands will still be there tomorrow and there is Yellowstone after that.

If you haven’t started planning your retirement yet, start today! Even if you are not yet 30 know where you are going.

Some asides:

  1. This site is being done in WordPress. So far I don’t like it. The gallery sucks. Picture control is cumbersome.
  2. Hookups in South Dakota means electricity only. I guess it’s too difficult to maintain water lines during winter.
  3. It seems like every yard has a travel trailer. I wonder if everyone here goes to Arizona for the winter.
  4. The world is now fully franchised. Places that I thought were local in Tennessee are also here (e.g. Famous Dave’s).

Coming Attractions: Mt Whitney – Part 2. Stay tuned.

Register to the right to get email notifications when I post something. -Carter

6 Responses to “Mt Whitney – Part 1”

  1. Kemp says:

    Hi! Don’t forget to stop at Wall’s drugstore or three Cody museum.

  2. Robbie says:

    Love reading about your next adventure.

  3. Charlene says:

    I love the flat “I can see for miles and miles”. Of course you know I feel about those elevations you so love! 🙂

  4. Carol R Shearron says:

    So happy to receive your msg. Been wondering about you. Excited for you and can’t wait to read more. The Mt Whitney info was like being there – and as close as I’ll ever get! Love that you are sharing your adventure.
    Wagons, Ho! Or I guess that’s Snoopy, Ho!

  5. JuneAnn says:

    Hey Travelin’ Man– Enjoying your adventure blog!
    Great pics. Stay safe.

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