I never ever get tired of the sheer beauty of Whitney Portal every time I drive up her hairpins towards wilderness adventures. We love in a gorgeous and wild country and I love every moment I get to enjoy her wilderness trails. There is a reason John Muir said: “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” The Inyo National Forest is nothing if not stunning wilderness as far as the eye can see.
Most people drive the climb of the Mt Whitney Road to trek for at least twelve hours in a tremendous day hike to the summit of the tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight states. I a world where most people would rather shop at a mall, purchasing cheap items soon thrown away made in a sweatshop in China or surf the internet and the Facebook and the Instagram and the tweets all day on their IPhone, I choose to spend my free time on the trails. If you choose to get outside for a day hike, let me tell you about one hell of a trail. Mt Whitney is no joke, especially in 2019 when it has been an impossible ascent for many a hiker (Including us) in July at least. July on the Mt Whitney Trail normally means snow-free trails, the beginning of thunderstorm seasoning and trying to make a summit before noon, when the thunderheads build above her peak. This season, however, in July on the Mt Whitney Trail, our journey meant just trying to somehow make it up her snowy switchbacks to Trail Crest and beyond.
Even as late as July this summer Mt Whitney’s jagged peaks were still covered with feet of snow, making this treacherous ascent a mountaineers dream or a day hikers nightmare.
We spent eight long grueling hours on the Mt Whitney Trail one early morning in July. It was an incredible memory and a difficult day of sweating in the snowy Sierras. One thing about the Mt Whitney Trail in 2019; It’s not for the beginning outdoor adventurer. The trail was snowy and treacherous just a few miles above Lone Pine Lake. The deep snow made the ascent much harder than most years and most of the hikers we saw out on the trail had little trail experience. They did not know how to work their ice axes and did not understand how unsafe it was to glissade down very wet snow. It’s surprising that search and rescue only made two air rescues on Monday, July 8th.
Obviously, in 2019, a summit of Mt Whitney in a safe manner would not be happening for my boyfriend and I, so we made the decision to turn around halfway up the snowy switchbacks after post-holing like crazy. The day was warming up quickly. We spoke to overnight campers who had attempted a summit the day before and they informed us that July 8th was a much warmer day than even the day before and the snow was melting on the trail extremely fast. There was literally rushing water everywhere and we were hiking through streams constantly on the trail. Dry feet were a thing of the past. Our feet could be dry at six p.m. when we returned to camp.
My boyfriend and I made the decision to turn around at seven miles into this hike of a lifetime as the ninety-nine switchbacks were just too treacherous. We may have only hiked fourteen miles in this July morning but hiking in snow is a challenge and we were starved by the time we made it back down to camp.
Obviously, we needed some delicious healthy carbs to fuel our exhausted bodies after a day of attempting to summit Mt Whitney in ridiculous snow. It only took us two hours to hike down from the snowfields at the switchbacks back down to camp after the murderous push-up hill to just below Trail Camp.
Obviously after hiking (Not successfully) up a 14,000-foot mountain. The very next day, Debbie and I decided to hike up one of the other hardest trails in the Eastern Sierra!
Because we are badass hiker babes!
A hidden Mt Whitney secret lies in the fact that the best extremely hidden fishing hole in California is buried deep in this wilderness. Meysan Lakes is a hidden gem for fishermen and challenging hike. For anyone, especially this year, 2019, when completing an Mt Whitney summit is damn near impossible, a good alternative is a trek up to Meysan Lakes.
Why do I hike up crazy-ass mountains through snowfields and thunderstorms? Because after a twenty-two-mile hike in one glorious eastern Sierras afternoon I can eat delicious fattening ghee filled Indian food! Okay and maybe some slightly, maybe they are healthy, sweet potato parathas. I used besan flour in this recipe, which is the authentic Tamil Nadu name for gram flour or chickpea flour.
Sweet Potato Besan Parathas
1 purple sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup besan powder
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 teaspoon ghee, 3 teaspoons reserved.
1-3 teaspoons hot water
Mix the hot water, balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon ghee and ginger. Add in the mashed sweet potato, salt and the flours. Mix up until a dough forms. Add more flour as needed.
Knead the dough for a few minutes then form into a ball and store in a warm place for at least twenty minutes.
From here, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until needed or continue.
On a floured cutting board flatten the dough just a bit with your hand. Cut into 6-8 wedges and one at a time flatten each wedge in a tortilla press. (make sure you cover the tortilla press fully with a layer of plastic wrap beforehand.
Heat ghee in a flat pan and toast tortillas on both sides.
Serve with grilled chicken and Mint Chutney or for a spicy chicken taco, Feta and Chicken Tacos with Bitchin sauce. These tortillas are also fantastic with scrambled eggs, jalapeño sauce and avocado for a breakfast treat.
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At the first of the month I always try to link up with the going green linky party. I love our planet and living a healthy lifestyle. This link party is a great way for sustainable earth loving bloggers to come together.