Only a year after our Appalachian Trail Thru-hike attempt, we were anxious to throw on our backpacks and head west into the wilderness. The John Muir Trail is a 211 mile trail located in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of California, and traverses from Yosemite National Park south to Mt. Whitney. After numerous failed attempts to secure southbound permits, we decided it was northbound or nothing. This new route would add over 30 miles to our total trek. On September 28, 2016 we flew 4 hours west from Atlanta, GA to Reno, NV. Curbside at Reno Airport, we grabbed two seats on the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (E.S.T.A.) bus for a 6 hour ride south into Lone Pine, CA. We arrived late that evening and grabbed a hotel room to rest up for an early start the next day. Morning of the 29th we walked into the Lone Pine Ranger Station to pick up our northbound permits we had secured online months before. As we were exiting the Ranger Station, we hitched a ride from a fellow hiker 7 miles up to Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead. Our plan over the next 3 days was to hike from Horseshoe Meadows, over Cottonwood Pass, through Crabtree Meadows, and into Guitar Lake. On day two we had a late lunch south of Crabtree Meadow, and decided to push on to Guitar Lake where we would set up base camp. The next morning we grabbed the essentials and started our climb up the iconic Mt. Whitney – 14,505 ft.
The morning of September 1st was cold but sunny. We grabbed our essentials, filled our water bottles, and headed up the mountain towards the trail crest waypoint. About a quarter of the way up, we ran across a small herd of high alpine deer munching on the last bit of vegetation. We stopped to rest periodically as the altitude was becoming more apparent with every step. Roughly 3 hours into our climb, we arrived at the trail crest sign informing us we still had 1.9 miles to reach the summit.
The summit of Mt. Whitney is nothing short of spectacular. There is a small storm hut, a few small spots to pitch a tent tightly in-between the rocks, and unbelievable 360 degree views. We grabbed our cameras and started snapping endless amounts of pictures. We weren’t alone at the top. Two solo male hikers were up there as well. One of the men offered to take a picture of us, and that’s when it happened! Toast got on one knee and proposed! Toast wasn’t ready for my reaction… Click the picture on the right to see what happens next...
It was much easier coming down! In fact, it took us less than half of our summit time. We were cruising down the switchbacks when Toast asked me "what date do you want to get married?". I laughed so hard and simply replied, "We've only been engaged for about an hour! Ask me again tomorrow". He chuckled and we hurried down to enjoy some time by Guitar Lake and celebrate our engagement with some classy trail burritos.
Btw...Our Date Is Set! November 4, 2017.
The View From 14,505 Ft. (Right Before The Proposal)
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