It feels great to finally be in some real mountains. We've had tastes here and there; the San Jacintos and a couple smaller ridges that got up high enough to have stretches of big trees. But this is the real deal. Day 2 up here and I've already climbed up over 10k' a couple times, with higher to come. Thankfully, my month and a half of hiking has made the altitude no problem. The only problem is my majorly heavy pack.
So I've made a small change to my plan. Instead of setting up for Mt Whitney in 3 days, I've decided to get there in 4. That'll cut a couple 25 mile days into the 20 I did today and a couple easy 15's. Or, maybe 20 again tomorrow and 10 the next day, tomorrow will tell.
I made the decision while taking a lunch break today, sitting in the shade at 10k' next to a little stream. It's for those relaxing moments that I hike, stretched out in the middle of the forested mountains without a worry in the world. I can see why other thru-hikers seem to be addicted to this. With my current pack weight and the steep climbs, doing 17-20 miles a day seems much more manageable. If I had tried to hit the point I originally intended, I wouldn't have gotten a 2-hour break under that tree. The downtime also let me dry out my sleeping bag which had been encrusted with frost that morning.
So an extra day added, I should still have enough food. If it looks like I won't make it to Mammoth with what I've got, there is a resort I can stop at just before that. See? No worries.