21 July . . . My thanks to Marilyn and Dottie

7:35 a.m. Didn’t hit Guitar Lake, but I’ll pass it sometime today. Yesterday turned into a race––me trying to get as far away from Scott, as possible. 

I woke up fine and feeling ready for my assault on Forester Pass. I was camped out with a guy named Bill, and all was well. 

But as soon as Bill took off and I had a couple more things to pack, who should show up but Scott, “SKOT” and Manny. 

I thought I had lost them, but there they were. I felt as though I was in some movie and I’d been caught again. I went with it, stupidly. 

I’ve been biding my time, waiting to tell Scott, off . . . always aware that if he really wanted to be  a jerk, he could dump my stuff, but then, I am always aware that if he does, he’s in big trouble. 

So they took off for the pass and then I took off. 

Of course my mind wasn’t filled with the beauty of the place––it was ruined by thinking about Scott and what a jerk he is. 

I get to the top of Forester and everything was fine––we were all congrats and happiness. 

Down the other side was quiet concentration as we all thought about getting out, or about getting to Crabtree or for me––getting to Guitar Lake. 

But of course, mid-way, or not even mid-way, Scott––high again––asks me––says something like, “It’s eighteen miles to Whitney” and I, staring off at the bare, wonderful cliffs, mumble some inconsequential reply (or so I thought) like, “I wish it were only two” and from there, he goes into his usual ranting––but this time he really got in my face. 

Spittle and all, he’s in my face, telling me how he saved my life so many times and how I abandoned him and on and on . . . 

I was reminded of the time I exploded on my slick roomie––how cool he was––so I stood there and didn’t say anything as little old, stoned Manny, just sat there, watching as though this were some sort of an intimate, staged performance.

After Scott said everything and told me to get out of “his mountains” I did-–as fast as I could. 

Ironically ( or maybe not) he had given me a lot of energy that I really needed and so I moved, but not before coming across a ranger. 

In the course of showing him my permit, I related in vague terms, my hassles with Scott. 

I asked him to slow him down. 

I arrived here at Crabtree Ranger Station at about five or six and after telling my story to another   ranger––Dario Malenga––I cooled out with Dollie and Marilyn. 

I think I’ll relax here today and let them get way ahead of me. If they hustle, they’ll get off the mountain and down today. 

I plan on moving maybe only as far as Guitar Lake and then going up tomorrow. Maybe not. 

10:32 a.m.  The sun is out. The ladies are all washed and fresh and I am feeling fairly good. I am sure that if I wait long enough, they will pass by this camp and be long gone by the time I reach mecca. 

. . . Here I sit, waiting for someone to pas by with word of their whereabouts. 

Hopefully, they are up the trail a ways. Hopefully, they are out of pot and going like hell and with any luck, that’s where he’ll go!!!

I think I will sit here until one person comes by  with some sort of an answer. I don’t mind the breeze in the trees, but for some reason, I am not fond of the rush of streams. 

They are loud and frantic and remind me too much of something trying hard to get somewhere. They are like the hum of a distant freeway. 

1:30 p.m. Left Crabtree. 2:40 p.m. Timberline Lake. From Crabtree to here seems so far to me. I don’t remember it at all, this way, at all. 

8:15 p.m. MOUNT WHITNEY!!!! 


Yes, I remember the grand feeling, sitting up there with Bill, below Forester and  of finally being rid of Scott and feeling as though this was finally, my adventure––no one else behind, ahead, or most certainly, banging around in my head. 

And then Scott showed up that morning and really put the bummer in me. I should have stayed right there, on the plateau and given him the entire day, but by then the urge to finish was just too great. 

And then came our little lunch episode at the Tyndall Creek crossing.  I thought for sure he would soon have his hands on me, but all he did was get in my face, food spraying wildly out of his mouth. 

I was so truly tired at that moment and then, second by second and with his angry urging, to “get out of my mountains” I found that deep well of angry energy and after packing in a hurry, I made quick work of the rest of the trail, all the way to Crabtree

Not only did I meet Dario Malenga, my back-country ranger hero, but I also met Marilyn and Dottie. 

I found them camped out in Crabtree and they were only too happy to listen to me babble on about Scott. 

Both of them were in their later years, with Marllyn being the younger and maybe just in her mid-sixties, and they were charmers. 

When I met them, it started to rain, I think, and we all huddled around the little fire they’d made and they gave me something hot to drink and when the rain cleared they both walked up to the trail junction there (where the WAG bags live) and waited around to see if Scott would pass by. 

They came back and told me that her had, finally and i settled into a lovely night in the company of these women. 

I was very impressed––they’d done the exact same route I’d done the year or so before, from Mineral King, up the Kern River Canyon, over Whitney and down––but they had an added bonus of having Marilyn’s Cessna airplane, waiting for them in Lone Pine, so they could just fly back across the Sierra, to Patterson, in the valley . . . near Fresno or thereabouts. 

When we all woke up in the morning, I thought I would stick around and enjoy the day with them, but finally I got the urge to head for Whitney and put everything I had into getting up there. 

I got Marilyn’s address and took off. I never saw her again, but the two of us became pen-pals, writing letters back and forth whenever we had another adventure. 

She and her husband eventually moved to Colorado and then . . . I finally got a letter from her husband, telling me that it had taken him a while, but that Marilyn had passed away, but I think of her every time I pass through Crabtree Meadow and how she made me feel so good, so protected––thank you, Marilyn. 

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