The handful of "no-guard-rail-steep-drop-off" corners and sections of huge rock slides (both the rocks and the slides are huge) aren't too bad, and the view across the basin is worth the couple of skipped heart beats. Lone Pine to the Portal is about a 4000 foot climb, and the last three miles are steep. Very glad we have coats with us as it is barely 50 degrees in the shade.
This is the staging point for hikers going to the Whitney Summit and the Whitney Recreation Area. In addition to the parking area, pit toilets, and bear boxes, there is a small store/kitchen that caters to the needs of hardy hikers and curious tourists.
The Portal itself has a permanent "starting/finish-line" feel to it, giving serious acknowledgement to what those who pass through it are about to undertake, and hopefully complete.
|High adventures await those who pass through this gate|
A few days earlier John and Pam, and Eric and Laurel, hiked the Whitney Portal Recreation Trail. We also
Ten miles back down the road and we have lost thousands of feet of elevation and gained 15 degrees in temperature. The rocks are no longer silver and gray, but brown and tan. Tall pines are replaced with low sagebrush.
We're back in the Alabama Hills, ready to play among the rocks again. A lot less people on this Monday afternoon, we nearly have the place to ourselves. We explore the multiple dirt roads, around boulders and through narrow canyons. Access to several small roads has been closed with rock barricades and signs, so we turn around carefully and go a different way. In more interesting spots we get out and scramble a little, getting a different perspective on the wider views, and discovering hidden gems away from the roads. We even find some more arches :-) It is a most wonderful playground.
|So many interesting combinations|
|Around the corner|
|The trail blazer|
|Whitney on a shelf|
|So many paths to explore|
|Big and tall Arch|
|Bad Photographer Arch|
|Slices of nutty bread|
|Love that this is our yard|