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To the Top of Mt. Whitney

To the Top of Mt. Whitney, Whether by Pack Train, or by Foot
by Rena Moore, 1940
[This poem was provided by Rena's daughter, Rena Smith]


Perhaps the morning is a crisp one and clear, with a sky of delicate blue
And a blithesome, thrilly something, that crinkles the heart of you.
Perhaps it's a morning of wonders, that holds not a single regret
Just a day you would choose from all others, "For a Trip You will never Forget!"

The trail begins at Hunter's Flat, and curves up to the left
With snow and then a little stream, pouring from some hidden cleft.
Upward, onward, for more than an hour, with many a turn in the trail
And then an alpine lake is glimpsed, where beauty and charm prevail.
We climb a steep and rocky ridge, then dismount for a halt
In a mountain bowl, called "Outpost Camp," A spot without a fault.

It nestles there among there among the pines, where willows edge the stream
And cliffs look down from timberline, completing nature's scheme.
The trip resumes, we climb again, past tilted shelves of stone
Past Mirror Lake, reflecting clouds, a picture all it's own.
Above us tower granite walls, that bring to mind a song
Where hearts adream and souls unleased, we slowly ride along.

Sculptured ranges spread beyond, and rear their lonely crests
Of drab, impassive ruggedness, where a condor giant might nest.
And boulders, imminent, barren, suggesting legends old
Surrounding Consultation Lake, bringing visions manifold.
We picture long-hushed neophytes, treading rocky stairs,
Trudging onward through the night, dusky-robed, with flares.

The trail keeps on an upward slant, we scarcely note it though,
For musing, we've forgotten, just where we were to go!
But, suddenly, we stop aghast, our visions flung asunder
The foreground has just dripped away! We stopped and stare in wonder.
Below, the canyon of the Kern, is shown us by the guide,
We marvel as he tells us, and names each view with pride.

Alert once more, we ride along, no dreaming veils our glances
The trail climbs up the mountainside, abruptly then, it branches.
One leads into the distant haze, the other one we follow,
Clinging to the stony ledge, over jut and hollow.

AT LAST, the SUMMIT, we stand on top, and giddily look below,
Spellbound, we view the splendor, sky, the earth, and snow,
Peaks, blue lakes, wilderness! Death Valley, and in between,
The tumble of Panamint Mountains, Owens Lake, and spots of green.
While two-thousand feet below us, lies a beautiful indigo lake
With an iceberg in the center, like a frosted birthday cake!

The feeling at that moment, is nothing akin to regret,
And I know I am telling you truly,
"IT'S A TRIP YOU WILL NEVER FORGET!"

[Summer 1940]



Rena Moore in 1920

 Rena Moore
Rena Beth Moore-Smith and her mother Rena Moore in 1988



The First to Spot Mt. Whitney[pdf]


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This page was last updated on 18 June 2015