Apparently I can't let go of summiting Mt. Whitney. I've basically concluded that I'm going back next year on the main trail but I was checking what permits are still available for this year and there's quite a few day permis available for October. Well given that I'm comfortable climbing in rain and snow that sounds great (hope I don't regret saying that), so I went ahead and got a Day Hike permit for Sat. Oct 6th.
Now I've been on nearly all of that trail and I'm quite comfortable on it so traveling it at night will be fine. The only (ha) daunting thing is the distance: 22 miles, and of course my usual nemesis of AMS. The advantage of a day hike is no heavy backpack and I now know I can take the Diamox in much higher quantities (250mg 3x a day if necessary) and I can start 125mg 2x a day 3 days before I leave.
I think I need to do a couple of long hikes just to get a feel for how my feet will hold up, and I will be carting along a foot pharmacy to see what works in keeping them healthy. Things like moleskin and other blister padding, foot powder, towel, extra socks, maybe a knee brace just in case.
What's also nice is that I can take real food along with me. I'd love to be out on the mountain and just have a nice sandwich. You do have to be careful about mayonnaise (best to leave it off) as I've been ill off a good sandwich before that contained it, but the more palatable you can make food at altitude the better since appetite tends to disappear with the thin air. Cold pizza sounds good too.
I think I'll hike Rose Peak from Del Valle Lake at least once beforehand. This guy has good write ups on the hike, (http://www.coloniapress.com/hikes_trips.html) though he hasn't met the truly obsessed hikers that I have so I think he has a faulty idea of what is a death march. He's also under the impression that Mt. Diablo is hard to climb which I sure don't think it is.
Today I went to one of my Dr.'s (the one that has a lot of orthopedic experience) to ask about my hip pain and my dragging right foot. The hip pain is the biggest concern as I've been dealing with that for a couple of years now. He sent me off for an X-Ray and we'll meet back in 2 weeks. I need to remember to call ahead so I can pick up an X-Ray CD from Summit before that appt.
For the leg weakness he suggested using the 2 hamstring machines at the gym (the traditional one that I don't care for as it seems too large for me and one where you pull with your legs - will have to look for that one), and also the calf raise machine as it also exercises the tibialis too. If it gives me thunder calves then so be it.