If you’re too busy to check out all 48 pictures posted at Flickr.com, I’m posting some of the faves. At some point I may post an in-depth narrative of all the fun and games, but I’d just as soon avoid the blog becoming All Bob, All the Time (methinks Bob, one of my most devoted readers, would agree).
So, the faves:
An ancient bristlecone pine bends to the wind near the tree-line at the Patriarch Grove, home of one of the largest bristlecones ever found. These trees live for thousands of years, the oldest being more than five thousand. It’s in another grove down the road a few miles but its identity is kept secret to prevent thoughtful humans from carving their initials into it. The trees are amazing to gaze upon, but more of a challenge to photograph than you might expect. I wasn’t happy with any of the pictures I took.
The team: Greg, Cheryl, Rick and You Know Who. The first three formed an impromptu logistics squad to ensure Bob would have food, water and shelter for the 20 hours of hiking and two nights of camping. Incidentally, White Mountain is an excellent locale for an overnight outing, if the weather holds and you don’t mind hauling water. The terrain is treeless but the few flat grassy areas make great campsites. Watching the rising sun light up the Range of Light to the east is priceless.
Bob’s all energy on the first day of hiking. Despite discovering the trails were hell for wheelchair hikers all the way to the top, he kept his energy rate high the whole way. (Several days of acclimatizing were the key — plus Bob’s astounding tenacity.)
It was supposed to be smooth sailing from here on in. Didn’t work out that way.
Rick reads up on the John Muir Trail — he was planning to hike the whole trail in two weeks, but took a week off to see Bob summit the peak. He’s section hiking part of it now.
Evan the Italian, on his way back down from the peak. He camped with us on the first night — and was off with a dash the next morning. He’d been to Yosemite and didn’t care for the crowds, and was having a great time out here with so few people.
Bob’s rarin’ to go on Friday morning. After all, how long could it take to go a mile and a half ? Ten hours and 45 minutes, by my count. (note: according to Google Earth it’s closer to 2 miles).
“Extreme trails call for extreme measures,” Bob says as he hand-and-butt hikes his way up one gnarly section. He did this three times on Friday.
Greg and Cheryl pose for a pic at the summit before Greg dashed 5.5 miles back down the hill to fetch Bob’s SUV and drive it back near the summit to save Bob a 20-hour return trip. (Not that Bob couldn’t do it, he was just sick of sleeping in a tent after a week).
Perhaps the iconic image from the hike: Bob bent over his chair and muscling his way up a rock-strewn road.
At the top, Bob signs the Summit Register.
Bob’s posting in the Register.
Good night, White Mountain.
Just superb! Way to go, Team 4WB!! Tom, Backpacker or Outside would publish your photos along with narrative, I’m certain! (And, I’m jealous! Wish I had been in tow with y’all!)
You’re correct, Tom….there are so many topics worthy of your most cogent points of view than this! I chimed in just to see how some of the photos turned out – AWESOME! And your assessment of this hike is so close to mine. I can tell you now that the thought that it was too much came to mind, especially clearing the switchbacks and finding the upper trail in WORSE shape. Never thought 1.5 miles could take almost 11 hours.
But without you, Rick, Cheryl and Greg it simply wouldn’t have happened. I’m stoked to have finished, finally. There was a strong message in the unreal weather we experienced – it was a sign that it just had to happen.
Thanks so much for being there. I tell ya, Sports Illustrated, right next to the swimsuit models…
Bob: thanks much for the feedback … I did some fiddling around with Google maps and Topo and figured that last day’s mileage had to be closer to two miles rather than 1.5, so I’ve changed my estimates accordingly in posts here on the blog.
I admit I had some teary-eyed elation when it was clear you were going to finish.
I do think for the permanent record we should assume 20 hours of hiking one way from the Barcroft Lab with a support team — the major asterisk being that you had considerable use of your legs.
This has to go out as a major dare to any hard-core paraplegic athletes out there.
I blogged about this on my site (used one of your photos, let me know if that’s not ok). I hope I can send a few people here to read the story of Bob’s summit.
Way to go Bob! You’re a real inspiration for us all. All I want to know is…. what’s next? 🙂
Really awsome Bob! I wish I had been along just to enjoy the views. Hey, maybe you can get an endorsement from the company that makes GU for wearing their hat? 🙂
Bob, I am so thrilled for you! Any words I write cannot adequately express any more than the fine sentiments I’ve already read here. Yours is a herculean effort that I feel beats – among other things – a major league all-time home run record. Bravo, 4WB!!!
And for the record, I’m pretty damn proud of Mr. Mangan, too.