Day 44 | mile 766.3 - 774.1

Woke up at midnight and touched Alex’s back. It’s so nice to roll over to someone I love. Up at 6. Bacon mashed potatoes for breakfast. The toilet was interesting! Just a hole behind one tin wall. Walking at 7:30.

Crying thinking about hiking back alone. Lost InReach. Crying. Ugly crying with drool running out of my mouth. (No pictures of this, you're welcome!) Hike back to find it. The whole time thinking to myself I'm going to get my backpack and go home if I can't find it. Found it. Damn. Caught up to Alex at Timberline Lake.

More crying. I just could not stay in the present and enjoy my time with Alex and Brent. I kept thinking about the impending goodbyes. Lots of stops for breaks and pictures. Guitar Lake was stunning.

After we made it past the Whitney Portal junction things started to deteriorate. Alex was slurring his speech, his lips were turning blue, he was falling asleep within seconds of sitting down. I would hold him in my arms while he was sitting down and feel his body go limp right away. It was really scary.

Making the call to turn around less than a mile from the summit was easy. I don't care about Whitney. I truly don't care about "bagging" any summits or 14ers. Alex displaying symptoms of HAPE was one of the scariest things. And strangely, it had a side-effect of making me ultra focused on the present and finally stop crying. (It had the opposite effect on Alex because he felt bad about not making it to the top.)

Made it back down safely. Mac and cheese at the Whitney Portal junction. It got burnt on the bottom because the pot was too small. We shared an apple and orange. Waited for Brent to get down Whitney.

Said the horrible tearful goodbye that I had been dreading from the first hug. The worst feeling ever.

Hiked back with Jannik. Not really with, but close enough. We chatted after the end of switchbacks where it wasn't as windy. I drank unfiltered water. (Lost a part of my water filter yesterday.) I wanted to get as far away from the meadow where we woke up this morning.

Hiked another few miles to get close to Forrester Pass. Listened to MBMBAM to keep my spirits up. Still crying when I catch a glimpse of Whitney, but I kept telling myself this will pass. I also kept reminding myself that I was fine without Alex for most of my life and I'll be fine now.

Made a cowboy camp just as it was getting dark. Not hungry. I’m nervous about the passes, the stream crossings, how I'm going to carry this stupid bear can, what if I can't open it on cold mornings. I’m missing Alex. I’m wondering why I’m doing this to myself.