We got our first hint that we were in for a treat at the initial boardwalk along the Van Hoevenberg trail. Looking off to our right, the MacIntyres sparkled, not quite snow-capped but neither was it summer green. It was below freezing, but had been warmer and raining the night prior, so I assumed the effect was from lost foliage.
Back into the trees we enjoyed the last remnants of autumnal color heading towards Wright Peak. While many of the leaves have dropped, the valleys are still a bloom of yellows and reds, casting an ethereal glow in the morning light.
Kathy & I made the junction with the Wright spur trail in good time, and we headed up. There were some patches of runoff which had frozen, making our footing tricky. We hiked this together in late May and found long stretches of ice, so this time I brought some traction. Luckily, the frozen parts were few and easily avoidable, so we kept the Hillsounds in the pack.
Breaking the tree line, we realized what we had seen at the start. Nearly everything — trees, rocks, boulders, blades of grass — was covered in rime ice. It was magical, a sparkling coating on the otherwise stellar summit.
We bathed in the early sunshine, enjoying the calm wind. We had the summit to ourselves so we simply soaked in the views.
We split up back at the junction, where I continued over to Algonquin and Iroquois and Kathy navigated back to the Loj. Algonquin was even more covered than Wright, and it was breathtaking. Boundary Peak was much the same, as was Iroquois.
After taking 15 minutes of photos from Iroquois, the sun started to melt the ice and by my return to Algonquin much of it was gone. I was lucky that it had stayed cool and that we started early enough to see the fascinating effect. We would spend the evening by the fire at the Loj, talking about our day and the mountains.