William Heise County Park

Joined Larry Edmonds’ Hike of the Month for a group hike through the various trails of William Heise County Park. I hadn’t been there in a long time, so this was a perfect opportunity to explore the park. The basic plan was to meet at the Day-Use parking area and then follow a mostly counter-clockwise route along the trail system.

Our first section to explore was the Fern Trail. We followed the Kelly Ditch trail for a bit, crossing over Cedar Creek. At a nicely signed junction, we turned onto the Fern Trail. Wildflowers still dotted the sides of the trail and we would stop from time to time to photograph them. The Fern Trail reconnects with the Kelly Ditch trail. For the very adventurous, you can hike this trail all the way to Lake Cuyamaca! 

Once we turned north, we headed toward the east and began hiking the Potter Loop. We had some lovely views of the surrounding mountains as we completed the one-mile loop. Once we were together again we began the short climb back toward the campground. Here we followed the Cedar Trail’s eastern section. After crossing back over the dry Cedar Creek, switchbacks made the climb a bit easier. The next trail we set off for was the Self-Guided Nature Trail on the east side of the campground. The smells of breakfast filled the air as we walked along the roads toward our trailhead.

We would take this trail for a short while until it connected with the Desert View Trail. Along the way, signs would identify the various trees and possible wildlife that could be found here. While we had a few short climbs so far, this section of our hike would have some measurable gain. Susie and I soon found ourselves at the front and cruised upward toward Glen’s View. We reached the end of the short spur trail and dropped our packs. The Salton Sea’s blue waters shone off in the distance. Familiar peaks rose around us—Granite, North Peak, Villager, and many more. The rest of the group arrived and took a nice break at the summit. 

After swapping tales of other hiking adventures for a bit, we set off to continue westward along the Desert View Trail. Some nice westerly views were spread out before us as we hiked down the rocky trail. Susie and I had once again pulled far ahead of the group. We came to a junction that could take us on a more direct path back to the campground or continue on to the Canyon Oak Trail. We both were a bit hungry, so we opted to skip the longer option and go on toward my car. Once back at the parking lot, I left a note for Larry on his car. After a quick stop at Calico Cidery to fill our growlers, we popped into Dudley’s for some sandwiches. While we waited for them, we chatted about our upcoming trip to climb Half Dome. This was a nice saunter through some nice trails with some lovely fellow hikers.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Sawmill Mountain & Mt. Pinos

After climbing Mt. Baden-Powell, I set off for my final set of peaks, Mt. Pinos and Sawmill Mountain. The original plan was to car camp at McGill Campground about two miles from the trailhead, wake up early, get these peaks, then make back to San Diego for a graduation party. Unfortunately, I missed some fine print on the reservation and no longer had a spot. Since my legs still felt good and I wasn’t in any real hurry, I decided to see if I could make the 7.5 mile round trip out to Sawmill. The parking lot was almost empty when I pulled in. I changed into a fresh shirt, made sure that I had refilled my water bladder and set off to the first peak, Mt. Pinos. While the temperatures were in the mid-70s, a light breeze and shade of the trees made for some nice hiking weather.

A few clouds dotted the sky, giving my photos some nice texture. Soon the summit of Mt. Pinos came into view, and I walked over and found the summit sign. After snapping a few photos, I set off toward the Tumamait trailhead and the “hard” part of the hike. From here, the trail loses about 400 feet of elevation to almost immediately gain it again. I took my time and plodded along, much like the climbs earlier in the day. Soon the turnoff to Sawmill appeared, and a short 2/10 mile later the large rock cairn stood before me. I grabbed the summit sign and snapped a few photos. For many, they will continue onto Grouse Mountain to the west to complete the 3-2-1 challenge, but this time I had no desire to tack on another couple of miles. 

I started heading back down toward the saddle for that climb back up. Surprisingly, it went fairly well. I have to think the past few days at something besides sea level might have helped. Soon I was back at the Mt. Pinos Condor Observation Site and had just about 1.7 miles back to the car. Thankfully it was almost all downhill. 

Once back at the car, I took a moment to reflect on the past three days. I had put in some serious miles and elevation gain. I grabbed some cold sodas and a sandwich from the market then began the drive home. Thankfully the traffic wasn’t too bad and I was home before 10 pm. 

The final stats for these summits was 7.3 miles in 3:17 with 1,430 feet of gain.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Baden-Powell via Dawson’s Saddle

The drive from Palm Springs to Wrightwood was uneventful. I decided to grab lunch along the way in Cazabon and refuel the Outback. After the mid-70s atop San Jacinto, the 100+ temps on the desert floor felt awful. The next peak on my adventure was Baden-Powell. Originally when I planned the adventure, I had hoped to hike out to the Big Horn Mine in the afternoon, but this heat wave we were having scuttled that idea. That hike is south-facing and without a lot of shade. I checked into my campsite at Table Mountain and then drove the 10 minutes back into Wrightwood to hit the market. I grabbed some soda, a couple of beers, and a bag of ice. Back at the campsite, I unpacked the backpack and the slack-pack and then reassembled my daypack. Soon I could feel my stomach being to grumble and headed again back into Wrightwood for dinner. After a nice Carne Asada burrito plate, I drove back to finish setting up for the night. Last year, I bought a custom air mattress for the Outback from Luno. In about 5 minutes, I had all the parts inflated and ready. The camp host stopped by and we chatted a bit. He said tonight the campground was mostly empty, but tomorrow it would be packed. I gathered some of the downed wood and enjoyed a small campfire as night fell. I crawled into the back of the Outback and listened to an audiobook for a while before drifting off to sleep. 

I woke again before dawn. I can see why they sell window covers, but I had a long day of hiking ahead of me and it was going to be warm, so I did not mind. I made my breakfast, this time some biscuits and gravy from Mountain House. If the temperatures had been milder, I might have considered breakfast in town. I deflated the mattress, relocated my other items, and set off toward Dawson’s Saddle. I had climbed Baden-Powell twice before, each time via the Vincent Gap trailhead and the infamous switchbacks. But this time, I decided to approach it from the other route. I passed the parking lot at Vincent Gap and there were about 5 cars parked there. 

Finding the parking area for Dawson’s Saddle was fairly easy, I just had to look for the Caltrans shed and park to the side. The full plan for the day was to hike from the saddle to Throop Peak, then continue along the ridge east to Mount Burnham and then Baden-Powell. I grabbed my gear and crossed over the Angeles Crest Highway to the trail. This first section of the trail was steep, and I honestly began to reconsider just doing the switchbacks. I knew though, after a short portion of this, the trail would mellow out. As I gained the ridge that I would follow toward Throop, I was rewarded with some great views to the west, as well as some nice views to the south, including Throop Peak. The trail certainly became much more reasonable as I continued to climb. After about 1.5 miles, the trail splits. To the left is a connector trail that joins the Pacific Crest Trail or you can stay heading south to climb up to the summit of Throop Peak. I missed the junction, but since the trail made a turn to the east, I stopped and checked my route. I was just a bit off, so I did a quick U-turn, followed by some short cross-country hiking, and found the trail. I had about 4/10 mile to gain about 450 feet. I paced myself as I worked up toward the summit. I had a long day ahead of me and had a respectable day of hiking the day before. Soon the summit came into view and I spotted the metal plaque and ever-present summit signs. I snapped my photos and soaked in yet another summit vista. Off to the east stood my next two peaks, Mount Burnham and the primary goal, Baden-Powell. Once I was ready, I set off down from the summit to connect with the PCT. 

Once on the PCT, I had about a mile to go before the junction to summit Mount Burnham. From previous trip reports, I knew this approach was also a bit steep. I made the decision to bypass it and continue on to my primary goal of Baden-Powell and summit Burnham on my return. As I continued eastward on the PCT, I would be passed from time to time by actual PCT thru-hikers. We would stop for a bit and chat before each heading our separate ways. The views along the trail were delightful. At times, I could see the high desert to the north, and at other times off toward the Los Angeles basin.

Finally, I came to the junction that would take me up to the summit of Baden-Powell. Again, this is a short but steep climb. I kept my eyes focused on the trail in front of me and plodded upward. Soon, the familiar concrete monument was in front of me. I dropped my pack next to it and wandered over to the summit flag. I snapped a few photos, but I have found that I tend to take less at the summits when I revisit them. This time was no exception. I sat next to the monument to Lord Baden-Powell and enjoyed a well-earned snack. Off to my west, I could see my return route. From this side, the ascent of Mount Burnham looked much more hospitable. Once I was refreshed, I set off back the way I came. Looking back, I should have gone the other way, just to see the Wally Waldron tree before rejoining the PCT. Oh well…

I cruised along the PCT knowing for the most part, I would be descending, but with a few short climbs from time to time just to keep things interesting. I reached the junction to leave the PCT and make the climb up to Mount Burnham. I made my way up the trail, stopping briefly once to photograph Baden-Powell. I really only had to go about 500 feet with just about 100 feet of gain. A bit nicer than 3/10 mile and over 300 feet of gain. At the summit, a small rock cairn had been constructed, and the summit sign was placed next to it. I found a register and signed it. After a few photos, I set off down the other side. As I made my way down back toward the PCT, I was validated by my choice to do this peak upon my return. 

The trail would continue on, treating me to more views along the way. Soon I reached the junction with the side trail that avoided climbing back up Throop Peak. This was that same trail I was briefly on earlier in the day. I had about 2.3 miles mostly descending back toward Dawson’s Saddle. From time to time, I would see the burned slopes of Mount Lewis just to the north of where I was parked. That area burned during the Bobcat fire back in 2020. Along the way, I passed a group of four hikers heading out for Baden-Powell, I wished them well and continued on. Once safely down that short steep section, I again crossed the highway to my car. I really enjoyed the climb to Baden-Powell this way. While it had some moments, it felt less of a challenge and more of a hike. I would like to come back and explore some of the other peaks in the area. After changing out of the hiking clothes and a quick rinse, I headed down to the high desert and over toward Frazier Park and what was to be my next set of peaks; Mt. Pinos and Sawmill Mountain. The final stats for this hike were 8.5 miles, in 4:46 with 2,720 feet of gain.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Backpacking San Jacinto

Earlier this year, Jeff Hester, the founder of the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenges, asked if I would be interested in joining a group to scout out a new set of peaks for a New Mexico based Challenge. I immediately said yes! However, New Mexico had to close all its National Forests, as several wildfires were raging across the state. That meant we would have to postpone the trip, possibly to Fall. Since I had the time off, I decided to turn my focus to either working on the SoCal Six-Pack, or the Arizona Summer Six-Pack. In the end, the SoCal trip won. One of the biggest pains of the SoCal is all the driving to and from San Diego, but by turning it into more of a camping road trip, it would take some of the sting out of the effort. Plus, this would let me have an adventure! The first peak on the list was San Jacinto, but instead of hiking up via Devil’s Slide or the Marion Mountain route, I would do this peak as an overnight trip. I sent away for my overnight permit (yes, you still have to apply for the permit via the mail). Once I received my permit, I secured campgrounds near the other two peaks I wanted to climb, Baden-Powell and Sawmill. This trip was going to be a blend of backpacking and car camping, so I had an interesting collection of gear in the back of my trusty Outback. With everything loaded, I set off for Palm Springs and the Aerial Tram.

Day 1: Mountain Station to Round Valley

The first day was actually going to be pretty mild. I parked my car in the overnight lot at the tram station and grabbed my gear. While I had a reserved ticket for 2 pm, I was there a bit early. There was room on the tram, so I headed up away from the heat of the desert. After my 12-minute ride, I headed to the ranger station to check-in. The ranger went over the basic rules and showed me how the campsite actually worked. I must admit, in planning this portion of the trip I did not really understand the layout of the Round Valley campground. Along the trail, there are posts, each marked with an R and a number. These serve as junction markers to trails that lead back to the various campgrounds, which are all named. He told me to avoid R1-R4 as they are just off the main trail to the peak. Since there were some winds forecasted for the evening, he also suggested not staying at Upper Chinquapinl. Now that I understood the campground, and carrying a much better map that came with my permit, I set off. 

The temperatures were in the mid-70s, but the light breeze and the shade made for a pleasant time. Since I was early, I debated heading to the campsite, dropping my gear, and heading up to the summit, but I knew I had several more days of hiking ahead of me and did not need to rush. Once at Round Valley, I began to explore some of the options to set up camp. In the end, I picked Buckthorn, as there was a spot sheltered by some boulders which could offer some additional protection from the wind. I walked back down to the Seasonal Ranger station and marked on the map that I had taken Buckthorn for the evening, then went over to the faucet to filter water. 

As evening came, I made my dinner and enjoyed a nice beer I carried up. Since I had to only cover just over 2 miles with an elevation gain of about 800 feet, I was willing to have the extra weight for a nice Victory at Sea from Ballast Point. A quarter moon hung in the sky as I crawled into my tent and drifted to sleep.

Day 2: Round Valley to Summit

I woke just before dawn, and the forecasted winds never seemed to come. I had my oatmeal and a couple of cups of coffee while I broke down camp. My plan was to stash my backpack, while I slack-packed up to the summit. I found a nice nook near the ranger station and set off up the trail toward Wellman Divide. Since the first tram up wasn’t until 10 am, I doubted I would see anyone for quite a while. I felt great as I made the climb up from Round Valley. I suspect that spending the night at 9,100 feet helped my body get a bit more used to the altitude. I reached Wellman Divide still feeling great. I stopped for a bit to grab some photos before continuing upward.

The trail was familiar, as this was the third time I had covered this portion of the route. Unlike last time, where I had been feeling the climb, this time I just kept cruising along. I reached the turn near Miller Peak and kept trucking along, knowing I was almost there. I came to the junction with the trail that connects up from Little Round Valley. If I was going to see anyone this early, it would be anyone who might have camped there. Although I suspect, if they had camped there, they might have tried for a sunrise summit. There was a tiny patch of snow nearby, and I wondered how much longer it would last?  

I set off for the final 3/10 mile to the summit. I briefly stopped at the Rescue Hut but was starting to run low on energy. Since I had a short scramble to the top, I pushed on. Someone had spray-painted blue arrows to help guide you up the rocks. I could not recall seeing this the last time. 

Once at the summit, I stood alone. I snapped my photos, enjoying not having to wait for others. I then found a nice spot to take my well-earned break. With a little bit of food in me, I was feeling great again. I took in the views some more, then headed back down the trail. As I neared the turn near Miller Peak, I decided to hike over and check it out. I got close to the true summit, but it would have been a bit of a scramble to the top and I just did not feel like doing it. After rejoining the main trail, I cruised back down. I would look at my watch and wonder when I might encounter my first day-hikers. My best guess was just around Round Valley. The return to Round Valley went smoothly, stopping only for photos. 

Once back at Round Valley, I switched back to my backpack, securing my slack-pack to the outside. I thought about transferring my water bladder back into my backpack but figured I had just about 2 miles of downhill ahead of me and I would be fine. Just past the first campsites, I met my first day-hikers. My guess had been correct as to the timing. We chatted a bit, then each went our separate ways. About every 15 minutes or so, I would pass another set of hikers making their way toward the summit. Some seemed a bit more prepared than others. Finally, I reached the ranger station. I checked in with the ranger to let him know I safely returned. As I enjoyed a nice cool drink of water, I listened to him caution a group of hikers about the warm day. Feeling a bit refreshed, I set off on the hardest part of the entire hike, the climb to the actual tram station. I plodded my way up the 120 feet of steep concrete switchbacks. Once there, I bought a cold soda and waited for the next tram down. With one peak down, it was off to drive over to Table Mountain Campground and tackle Baden-Powell via Dawson’s Saddle tomorrow.

Final Stats

Day 1:

Ranger Station to Round Valley: 2.25 miles, 1:17, and 795 feet of gain.

Day 2:

Round Valley – Summit: 5.9 miles, 3:39 (excluding time at the summit), and 1,735 feet of gain 

Round Valley to Ranger Station: 1.9 miles, 1:03, and 795 feet of loss. 


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Kwaaymii Trail

Tucked just behind the Mount Laguna Visitor’s Center is the Kwaaymii Trail, a very short interpretive loop that one can explore. After our jaunt on the Desert View Trail, we weren’t ready to leave the Laguna’s yet, but our dog had enough adventure for the day, so my wife and he hung out at the Visitor’s Center while I took off.

The trailhead is located at the northwest edge of the Visitor’s Center parking lot. A wooden box holding trail guides is attached to the signpost but was unfortunately empty. I passed a large stone marker labeling this trail as the “Indian Trail”. Thankfully, this trail has been renamed. If you are not familiar with the Kwaaymii, those people were a subset of the Kumeyaay that once inhabited the area.

The trail passes by some cabins, and you are reminded to stay on the trail. Soon, the trail began a short climb to Pinyon Point. I quickly took in the views before continuing on. Off to the north, I had a great view of the FAA station atop Stephenson Peak. The trail descended along the east side of the hill and I was quickly back at the Visitor Center. 


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Desert View Nature Trail

After having a nice picnic lunch at the Desert View Picnic area, it was time to burn off a few of those calories by exploring the Desert View Nature Trail. This trail is just over a mile in length and has minimal elevation gain, but it offers some incredible views despite those small stats. Starting from the southeast edge of the picnic area, we began hiking south. 

Soon, the views to the east opened up and the Anza-Borrego desert was spread out before us. I could see Red Top and Sawtooth directly in front of me. We continued on until we reached a junction in the trail. From our starting point, this trail is basically a “lollipop”. We soon passed a nice wooden bench nestled under some shady Black Oaks, taking the right fork. The trail continued on until it reached Burnt Rancheria Campground, the other starting point. We walked briefly along the road eastward, until we picked up the trail again. Upon leaving the campground, we found a “water drinker” that had been installed, along with a water trough for horses. To the east was a barbed wire fence and a sign denoting the land beyond was an Indian Reservation.

We followed the trail north back to our trailhead. This portion of the Desert View Trail is also shared with the PCT. Soon we found ourselves back in our car after an enjoyable little jaunt. Either a day pass or Adventure Pass will be needed to park at either the Desert View Picnic Area or Burnt Rancheria’s Day Use area. Dogs are allowed on leash. 


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

San Mateo Peak

Since two of the three of us had evening plans, that ruled out any “big” hikes. So, instead, we tossed around a few smaller hikes that might fit the bill. In the end, we settled on hiking San Mateo peak, just an hour north in Riverside County. This peak is on the Lower Peaks Committee list, so we would get to cross off another one. Since the mileage for the peak was going to be just under 5 miles and the elevation gain was not too much, we had a slightly later start than our usual departure times. The drove up to Lake Elsinore and on to the 74 went quickly, as Susie, Ted, and I had not hiked together in a while, so there was a lot of catching up to do. The clouds hung low and as we neared the turn off from the 74 toward the Morgan Trailhead, I was driving in them. I pulled into the parking area and hung my Adventure Pass on the mirror. We gathered our gear and set off.

At about 2/10 mile in, we came upon a register box and we signed in. Almost directly behind is the trail o take up to San Mateo Peak. We made the mistake of continuing along the trail that we had been on for a bit before realizing we were headed the wrong way. The trail was really mellow, so backtracking was easy. The trail follows a seasonal stream for about another ½ mile. Some poison oak lined the edge of the trail, so having long pants was a good idea. We reached another junction that was well signed and the trail began to climb away from the creekbed. Along the route, we would keep our eyes open for the three dinosaurs that are placed along the trail. I have no idea why, but they are there.

The clouds slowly began burning off and the possible summit revealed itself off to the south. Further, in the distance, we could see the towers atop Margarita Peak. The trail had a few ups and downs but mostly kept climbing upward. Finally, we spotted the summit and shortly thereafter were enjoying its views. It had a nice summit block that some of us scrambled up on. Off to the west, we spotted Sitton Peak, and Santiago loomed to our north. 

After signing the register, we began to retrace our route. About halfway back, we saw a flag pole atop a small peak to our north that we had missed due to the cloud cover. I located what I hoped was the use trail and made the short climb to it. According to Peakbagger, this was Peak 3065. There was nothing there that gave us any clue as to why there was a flag pole, but a peak is a peak.

We rejoined the main trail and continued down until we actually encountered another hiker heading up. So much for checking “Only Party on the Mountain” on our ascent log on Peakbagger. Soon we were back at the car after a pleasant 4.5 miles in a comfortable 2:36. I logged the total elevation gain at 989 feet. The drive home took a bit longer due to some construction but still wasn’t too bad of a drive.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Mirror Lake

Matt’s alarm went off at midnight, and shortly thereafter it wished him a “happy birthday”. Once it was done singing to him, I did the same. Matt was getting ready to attempt to summit Mt. Whitney, while I was planning to hike as far as Trail Camp. This opportunity for me was fairly last minute, so I had not had the chance to do any training for a hike of the magnitude of the summit. I let Matt focus on getting ready, as I was not scheduled to sync up with David until around 1:30 am. Matt finished up and set off for Whitney Portal. David arrived on schedule and we tossed our gear and began our drive up.

Driving in, we could see headlamps dancing along the trail. When we parked at the portal, the car’s thermometer read 43°F. We grabbed our gear and clicked on our headlamps and set off. There was some comfort having hiked this about 12 hours earlier as we climbed in the darkness. My legs, and more importantly lungs, were feeling good as the trail climbed ever upward. I knew not to compare my pace, as night hiking is always slower. As we made our way up, David was having trouble following my pace. He said to go on and he would meet me at the Lone Pine Lake junction. I continued hiking at a nice pace, being mindful of bears that might be out. All was going well until the long log crossing near the junction. While it had not been an issue in the daylight, this night crossing was nerve-wracking. It was more of a shuffle than actually walking. I reached the junction and waited for David. I found a spot to sit and turned off my headlamp to save my batteries. The stars were majestic as there was no moon to hide their brilliance. In addition, a meteor shower was just concluding, and I spotted one very bright one streaking across the sky. As I waited, several more vaporized into our atmosphere. It had been some time sitting here and I was starting to shiver. I got up and paced a bit to warm back up. I am fairly sure it was below freezing here. Several hikers passed by, but no David. I decided to continue on, knowing David would either turn back and relax back at the portal, or I would meet up with him on my descent.

Just past the Lone Pine Lake junction is the entrance to the Whitney Zone. I stopped for a photo and continued on. To the east, the predawn glow was starting to appear. I kept climbing toward Outpost Camp, the next milestone for me on this hike. The mountains were slowly being bathed in light. The trail eases some as it makes its way through Bighorn Park, the creek flowing next to the trail. As I neared Outpost Camp, I could see the tents scattered about and continued on, trying to be quiet for anyone who might still be asleep.