For final day on the mountain (Tuesday), our luck with the weather held and at 9am we headed down from high camp. Since SMI runs back to back trips, there was no need to break down the tents at 12,000 so we were outta here quickly. Some plunge-stepping in soft snow got us down 2,000 ft. in about 40 mins.
Our descent got even quicker as the snow conditions and slopes below 10k were prefect for some kick-ass glissading! Four awesome runs where I set the speed record for the group.
Some more power hiking down mixed snow and dry trail found us down to the Whitney Portal trailhead in just 3 hrs all told. There we met with our guide Kurt's (great name!) 82 year-old father, John, who had donned his hiking boots and had hiked up the trail to met us and shuttle us down to the cars. I was very impressed with him. 82 years-old!! It made me think about how much I miss my own father. (God bless you Dad; thinking about you)
With pizza and beer just minutes away in Lone Pine, we threw our gear the rental car and I drove like a bat out of hell the 13 miles into town. The combined scent of 4 days of mountain on the 12 of us guaranteed not only a table but 1/2 of pizza place and speedy service to get us out of there quick!! Good times!
After lunch, the team gathered one more time in the parking lot of the Dow Villa Motel to sort out the rental the group gear, say our good byes (and pass along our well earned tips) to Kurt, Karsten, and April, our fantastic guides, and disband as a team. Bert on a redeye from Vegas to Wichita; the Charlotte folks to Vegas for one night of something that will stay in Vegas; Chuck to somewhere unknown after getting his rental car keys sprung from the trunk he locked them in; and us remaining four: me, Greg, Michele, and Steve to dinner in Lone Pine after much needed showers and naps.
The Merry-Go-Round restaurant in Lone Pine has the most unique bill-of-fare of two menus: either steaks and chops or Chinese!! I would have to say the Kung Pow Chicken was sublime. The others seemed to enjoy their steaks and baked potatoes.
That's what I call a good day!! Fun, fun, fun in the California sun.
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