Thursday dawned overcast and windy. We stared a little nervously at the sky while we made our oatmeal, but in general we were feeling strong. Some in the group reported feeling a little less rested and a little chillier than the day before - Savannah had to warm her boots up in her jacket and everyone had a couple extra layers on. After breakfast, we broke down camp and got ready for our day of summits. Unfortunately, we got out of camp behind schedule, which meant we had to make up time on the hike.
Making up time was not going to be easy on a trail where a significant portion of the middle stretch was practically vertical. Drew Muzzey took over point and was able to run up these patches with his fully loaded pack. Unfortunately, this was the point at which Conor Soucy's snowshoes gave up the ghost and he had to make the climb in just his boots. This was by far the toughest part of the hike we had experienced.
BUT, when we got to the top of Mt. Willey, the views were spectacular. The early clouds had burned off and we had the clearest skies and views for miles and miles. Each peak was outlined distinctly and it was easy to see how the White Mountains once had the stature of the Himalayas. We were joined by a Gray Jay who happily ate trail mix out of the hand and kept a close eye on us. We couldn't linger long as the time was getting late and we still had to scramble up Mt. Field.