My uncle just sent me this dispatch from the High Sierra.
Greetings to all from John Muir's "Range of Light." I just completed 160 mile recon run/hike from Whitney Portal to Red's Meadow (near Mammoth Lakes)in 7 days (+1 rest day soaking sprained ankle in Woods Creek.) My last day, winds hit 90+ mph on ridgelines and I woke up to light snow and 23 degrees. My Camelbak was an Accelerade Slurpee. I was lucky that was my last day. Temps are back up to 32low/60high & sunny at 8,000 ft. for the next 10 days. That's going to put me @ low to mid teens @ 12,000-foot passes at night, not counting wind chill. I'm upgrading to GTX pants, midweight thermal pants & adding GoLite Zip-neck T to get me over the passes. Fortunately my 14,000', 14,500'& 13,000' high points will all be done before the first nightfall. I'm also adding trekking poles to get me up passes when I'm exhausted & to push through the sandy sections.
Was flagged down by "Flyin' Brian" Robinson, his wife Sophie, "Mrs. Flyin' Brian" Robinson & a friend on the trail. He rightfully criticized me for running w/a 30 lb. pack so close to event date (start 9/20.) I told him that it's hard to taper when you don't have anything to taper from. I've been sewing on gear & handling logistics for the last 8 weeks rather than training--oops! I did drop from 183 to 175 lbs. on recon hike which leaves me 10-12 lbs. overweight. I'm dining on protein and fats this week to stimulate production of carbohydrate burning enzymes. (I'm working on a can of Spam & a kosher pickle in the Lembert Dome parking lot @ Tuolumne Meadows as I write this.) The last day and a half I will switch to heavy doses of complex carbs to build ATP & glycogen in muscles & liver.
Since I park car at end of hikes & bus south to Lone Pine & hitchhike to Whitney Portal, I leave a cache @ the Portal. Last time I checked it, critters had broken into bags but found no food. My 2 Ersacks (10 oz modified Ursack Hybrids--half the weight of the product as delivered) worked fine. Had no bear or Ranger encounters on recon trip. I lost the trail many times due to floods & rockfall. It's going to be a nightmare staying on route by headlamp w/no moon for 10-1/2 hrs per day.
I've decided to take the traditional longer northern route thru Tuolumne Meadows & start the clock @ Whitney Portal (10.4 miles & 6100' below the JMT start @ Whitney Summit) based on suggestions from my resupplied, supported, caffeinated brethren (Kevin Sawchuk, Buzz Burrell & Brian Robinson) to attempt to unify the route for the 2 classes of competition.
Un-resupplied record holder Reinhold Metzger (5 days 7 hours Whitney Summit to Yosemite Valley) left me a good luck note on the Whitney Summit hut. Several parties recognized me from the BPL article & had their pictures taken with me. Only in America can you be famous for doing nothing. I'm the Paris Hilton of the wilderness! I'm thinking of quitting this trail running thing, getting a personal assistant, a publicist and a table @ Spago's!
I received many comments about my 10 day food load/34 lb recon pack (Go-Lite Gust.) It looked massive to me but they could tell I was going UL. Then I looked at the 55 lb tumors perched on their backs, towering above their heads & realized I am making progress.
I'm mainling ibuprofen for my ankle & it doesn't seem to be hurting much. Hopefully when I go beyond fatigue on those 40-50 mile days it won't blow up.
Hope all is well w/everyone back home. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions & support! See you on the other side.