drove back from baltimore last night. left about 6pm. got home at 2:00am. why, you ask, should it take so long to drive a relatively short distance? well, there were actually three factors - an unusually long (but yummy) meal at waffle house which delayed us an hour, a quick trip to long island to pick up the baby which delayed us maybe 90 minutes, and, most frustratingly, traffic, which probably delayed us a good 2½ hours.
i know to expect some traffic when coming up the turnpike on a sunday night after a beautiful, mild summer weekend. the surprise to me is that the traffic started south (SOUTH!!!) of trenton. sitting on the turnpike, you really can't bail out past I-195 - you just have to deal with it, which would be stop and go for a few miles, 40mph for a few more miles, repeat. well, the radio, abruptly turned on at the first sign of traffic early enough to surprise the hell out of me, sounded like the apocalypse 0- an hour at the george. an hour at teh holland. just under an hour at the lincoln. turnpike is screwed. the new york thruway is screwed. the new england thruway is screwed. the lie is screwed. the long island parkways are screwed. the garden state parkway is screwed. the staten island crossings.. well you get the point. so getting into NY, which i'd have to go through to get to long island, was going to suck. i decided to get there through staten island, where I knew I would hit traffic on the outerbridge crossing, minimizing my exposure to the turnpike's traffic as early as possible. then, because i knew the west shore expressway and the staten island expressway were going to be disasters, i decided to take the streets through staten island as i learned them during my contract last summer and fall. arthur kill road, etc. it was all right, though the traffic lights in staten island have some sort of personal vandetta against me and i was ready to start chopping them down. the verrazano wasn't that bad, actually, and the BQE was pretty slow going through brooklyn. by now it's well after midnight, i'm tired as hell, the baby is still in long island, and i would have at least another 90 minutes of driving.. i wasn't thrilled.
anyhoo, today i'm exhausted. the baby decided that he wanted to wake up early - i decided that for one day he'll go hungry for an hour. i just didn't have it in me to get up and start a day yet.. i was, in a word, beat.
and i still am. my brain isn't running on all cylinders yet. i managed to go out and buy a suit today, but that's about all i've accomplished, and it's almost two in the afternoon.
in the mail today came my whitney reservation confirmation. #50,000. cool. one of my partners, i think, is overestimating the effort by telling me how much I'm underestimating it - the truth is, frankly, that we're both right. i know it's not going to be easy, but it's not a mountaineering expedition either. he wants us to bring ice axes, crampons, ropes, whatever- and i don't know if he knows how to use that stuff - i know i don't. early september on whitney is probably the best time to hike it though - new snow is unlikely, and all of the old snow would have melted by then. so i think, barring bizarre weather, that the hike will be nothing more than a walk up hill. that said, it's a really long freakin' walk up hill. 11 miles to the top, with over 6000 feet of gain. at 14,000 feet. you can read below to see my acclimization plan, but the fact of the matter is that chad is right when he says that you have to be in great shape to do it. better shape than i am in. so, why am i doing it? it's not macho bullshit, rather its an intense desire, a personal test, a realization of a goal, a progression of another goal, and a learning experience. the good news is that since the whole thing is class one, bailing out is simple - just turn around and start walkign down. today's permit came with a newsletter-style information flyer that said 17,000 people hiked up mount whitney in 2003 - so we won't exactly be alone. whitney is a pretty safe way of getting some high-altitude hiking experience with large elevation gains, long distances, exposure, and amazing views. even if i do have to turn around, it will certainly not be a loss. it will be dissapointing, but still worth it.
there is a possible 4th person coming - a business partner that i hooked up with in baltimore. he's thinking about it - and it will be great if he comes with.