How life survives above 10,000 ft has been one of the most interesting parts of the trip for me.
Trees grow straight up out of granite, birds soar in the breezes, flowers, grasses, butterflies...amazing. If I were to take the trip again and attempt a photographic theme, it would be to show how life finds a way to succeed.
It's more dramatic than seeing crab grass find it's way through a space in the concrete and it often seems to be on a large scale. For example, we were looking across a river canyon to a wall of granite and there was a patch of 4 large pines growing straight toward the sky, surrounded by snow. It seemed that there was nothing to support them and I wondered how they managed to begin to grow there. Photographing these suprising examples is difficult, but we've made an attempt.
When we climbed Mt Whitney (Dave doesn't look so happy in that photo, but he did enjoy our trip up to the top!), just before we took our final steps to the summit, I looked down at the step and saw two ladybugs. Ladybugs? How did they get there? They were alive and moving (Dave tried to tell me they were dead and someone had carried them there...). I've seen them again on a couple other peaks as well.