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.
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.
This hike was gigantic. 27 miles — more than a full marathon. Way more than 6,000 vertical feet gained. Four summits. Just under 14 hours.
With two of three difficult hikes behind us, the last long day in our quest was Mount Donaldson, Mount Emmons, and Seward Mountain.