Yesterday perfectly encapsulated shoulder season: A nice 3-4″ of cool snow on the way in; about 6″ of snow (drifting in places) at elevation; icy steep pitches, sometimes hiding under powdered snow; warming sunshine melting low-lying snow by the end of the day creating wide mud swaths.
We opted for a short climb of Mount Colden, up and back via Lake Arnold. This is our third trip along this route together, our first time was our 46th peak.
I’m pretty easy to convince to go hiking. Offer me a trip to the nearest majestic place and our niece and nephew, and I’m even willing to get up at 4AM to make it happen.
A couple friends and a flowering peony inspired me to grab some photos from the backyard. Overcast days are the best for photography in general, and the ones after a light rain are perfect for…
The trio before me made it to about 2,600 feet; no one else had signed in for Allen since the 23rd of March. This would be one of the hardest hikes I’ve done.
Not having hiked these three together (colloquially referred to as ‘HaBaSa’) since July of 2014, I wanted to reacquaint myself with them before winter.
The route through the South Boquet River takes a meandering path, making four river crossings before leading to the base of a slide and up the north slope of Grace Peak.
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.
We swung over Whiteface’s summit and headed down for lunch at the cafe with the Mumaughs. I can’t believe we didn’t do this our first time here, it was absolutely brilliant to sit and have a hot lunch and cold soda in the middle of the hike. This will be the plan for this pair from now on!
I drove up ahead of the rest of the family just for this hike, leaving after work so I arrived well after dark. It was a crystal-clear day but cool, a welcome end to the hot and humid summer.
I made a speedy ascent of the short-but-steep Cascade, enjoyed the amazing variety of mushrooms on Porter, and descended via the expansive Little Porter Mountain on one of my favorite traverses. I followed it up with a hike into the JBL and a quick up-and-down Big Slide.
Staring down the sheer south side of Redfield, thick with what is nearly impassibly thick trees and debris, and over to Allen Mountain jutting steeply from the surrounding flats, a vulture launched beside me a circled the thermals over my head. I understood the symbolism, took some pictures and headed back.
These three peaks are normally two long days, but with enough will they make a single inspiring, exhausting, rewarding one.
One of the justifications for pursuing a hiking ‘grid’ (seasonal, monthly, etc.) is to experience a place in different conditions. I definitely got a Spring full on this hike of the Santanonis. The initial plan called…