The rest of the way down the valley was uneventful. I didn't take anymore pictures.
Once I reached the parking lot I tried to wash a little of the stink and sweat off. I asked the first person I saw if he was going to Bishop and if he had room for me. He said yes and took me to Bishop. Once there, I went to the nearest outfitter and asked about the bus to Lone Pine. It was leaving in 20 minutes so I ran as fast as I could to the bus stop and just made it in time. Forty-five minutes or so later, I was back to the car we left in Lone Pine. I really wanted a celebratory meal but a huge motorcycle group pulled up to the restaurant I was considering so I settled for some ice cream. Then I was off on the drive home. I got home at 8:00PM and had my celebratory breakfast at Cajun Kitchen in Santa Barbara. Oh man was it good! I was so hungry! I had 2 eggs, Lousiana hot sausage, hashbrowns, cottage cheese and tons of coffee.
This hike had been a test of the strength training program I have been doing for a year and a half. I have been lifting 3x a week and hiking only once a week. No other cardio than that. I have heard that strength is a general adaptation that is transferable to nearly anything you want to do. I wanted to test that. I'm happy to report that it's true!
By strength training, I mean that I specifically attempt to lift heavier than the last time. I don't always succeed but I'm not "body building". I squat, deadlift and overhead press. I can squat 160lbs and deadlift 210 so far. I'm 49 years old and weigh 135. It actually provides a decent cardiovascular workout, really gets the heart rate up. I'm happy to report that on this hike I felt stronger than I ever have, I acclimated to the altitude amazingly well, I had all the cardiovascular endurance necessary, I had better balance crossing creeks and traversing scary snow. I'm a believer. I'll never slog it out for hours running or whatever ever again. It just doesn't work as well as strength training.
It's been an amazing journey.