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Buck30 - Lowest to Highest Trail Journal - 2016

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Brian (Buck-30)
Begins: Oct 4, 2016
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Oct 4th, 2016
Start: San Diego
End: Ridge to Telescope Peak
Daily Distance: 16.5
Trip Distance: 16.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 578
Journal Visits: 5,590
Guestbook Views: 43
Guestbook Entrys: 1

Last PLB Location

Day 1 - From very low to very high

It was a crazy start to the L2H. We did well by leaving at 6:30 am, did our
resupply, ate McDonald's breakfast and drove out to Death Valley. Along the
way on 395 my front right tire got a flat, a strange and large hole in the
sidewall. I was rather nervous as the car is old and hasn't been driven
much the last 6 months. Loveline changed the flat with the spare and then
the spare went flat 10 miles later, probably due to it having not much air.
Geico sent us a tow truck, towed us to Kramer Junction and a pretty ghetto
and sketchy shop gave me a new tire for a decent price given the situation.

We continued after the 3 hour delay which would throw our plans off but
that was OK. We hit Lone Pine, dropped off a bag of warmer gear for when we
walk back through to climb Whitney and headed to our first water cache at
Saline Valley road. First we drove up the road 8 miles for a bonus cache
and then cached water at the road crossing. I left diet cokes at both
caches. Then we dropped a food cache off at Paramount, a small resort and
restaurant and they actually held our cache with some convincing by
Slaughter. Then the most amazing thing happens, we see 3 hikers walking in
that have to be L2H hikers. Since only about a dozen people have ever hiked
this, we didn't necessarily expect to see anyone else. It's Hot Mess, OMG
and Iron Chef and they tell us about the upcoming water and answer the
biggest question I couldn't get answered which is yes, there is water at
Tuber springs. That info will help us immensely. We trade stories for a
while and then leave them to gorge themselves.

We head to our second cache which was an alternate cache due to the place
we wanted to cache having the road washed out. My car had been riding low
with 3 of us and the alternate cache seemed sketchy and not worth another
car issue so we decided not to cache. We drove on, went down a dirt road
and camped at 10 pm at a picnic site. Long day!!

We wake early and finally make it to Badwater by 7 am. It's a visitor
parking lot on a broad expanse of salt flat and is amazing. It's also the
lowest point in the US and I'm looking across the valley at a huge ridge
we're gonna have to climb up in what will be probably the most insane climb
I have ever done. First we get our gear together, fill up on water, I drink
my final 2 diet cokes and 3 leftover slices of pizza, and we're off!!

Walking across the salt flats playa is other worldly. Strange shapes and
cracks and delicate things sticking in the air. At some point we hit soft
spots which come and go and small convoluted dirt mounds too. It's a
fantastic walk and not even that hot. There are only a few L2H blogs and
those folks had 110+ degree temps at this time. A sign at the start showed
the average temperature around 98. We are probably around 90. On any other
trail I'd say that's hot to be walking in the direct sunlight without a
tree in sight or even a large bush but out here this is about as cool as I
could possibly hope for.

We reach the other side and find a large mesquite bush type tree and huddle
under the shady side for a while and then start the long climb up to
Telescope ridge. I'm at -200' and by tomorrow morning will be at 10,000' in
one continuous climb. Crazy! The walk up is on a rocky road and while
fairly easy looking it's slowly uphill in the heat and more tiring than I
expect. We all walk together for a bit and then split apart to do our own
thing to keep feeling good. I carried out a gallon of water and while I'm
thirsty I'm also fine. We enter Hanupah canyon and the road disappears and
the wash gets very slow and very rocky. The surrounding mountains are
nothing but huge brown masses and look amazing. And then we hit Hanupah
spring which appears out of nowhere and disappears just as fast. Why there
is water here I have no idea but it's delicious and I drink 2 liters while
we sit under a wall that shades us in the late afternoon.

I cook dinner so I don't have to carry that water and then pack out a
gallon. This is on the low side but I hate carrying water and I think it
will be enough.....I hope. Slaughter and Loveline are driving me crazy as
they both carry tons of water and then walk into the source with several
liters, Slaughter had a gallon left over! We knew there was water here so
this drives me insane and she keeps offering me more water as we walk. I
have a policy of never taking water from anyone since I purposely don't
carry a lot but if she is going to walk into a guaranteed source with an
extra gallon then I now don't know what to do!

From the spring we climb very, very steeply without trail up to a ridgeline
and decide to camp on a gorgeous flat spot about a half hour before sunset.
Views everywhere and then the night sky is insanely starry. I feel like I
should feel horrible but I don't and wonder if I should be pushing more but
then realize being happy is a good thing and there's no need to feel bad if
we are doing just fine.

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Lowest To Highest - Badwater To Mt. Whitney

The Lowest-to-Highest (L2H) is a 130 mile, backcountry hiking route between Badwater and Mt. Whitney, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere to the highest place in the contiguous United States. Learn more: www.simblissity.net/L2H.shtml

 

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