July 14, 2020
Yesterday Mr. K and I did something more grand than one of our usual hikesâ€”we started at one mountain peak and walked down and up (and down and up) to get to another, slightly higher mountain peak, one I’d never made it to the top of before and Mr. K had only summited once, and that on a smoky low-visibility day some years back. I had some trepidation about this excursion since I failed to complete the whole hike that other time we tried it, but told myself that it’s just walking and I know how to walk. The weather was cooperative, with mostly sunny skies and a moderate temperature.
We took the lift up to the highest peak on the ski mountain, then walked down the ridge to where the t-bar starts. Walking up the path that we get pulled up in winter, I had a chance to appreciate views I don’t see in winter because I’m paying attention to keeping my butt on the t-bar and my skis pointed uphill in the track. I especially liked this dead tree standing tall and alone in a gap between its living relatives.
From the top of the t-bar, we had a nice stroll down to the saddle between it and our destination peak. Then it was time for the final uphill stretch to the summit, which was felt like it was twice as long as the downhill we’d just done from the t-bar but there were wildflowers along the way to distract me. We stopped to have a rest and a snack before the final push up. While we were munching on our nuts and carrots, a man came hiking down behind us, which was rather startling as we hadn’t seen any other hikers since we left the top of the ridge by the chairlift and weren’t expecting that to change. We chatted for a bit while his hiking companion caught up to him. He was involved in a study of grizzly bears and had been setting up a trap to gather bear hair for DNA analysis. Apparently the trap they set up last year got no grizzly hair but many photos of a grizzly â€¦ clever bear.
Snack complete, we made the last ascent to the top and it was everything I hoped for â€¦ 360 degrees of views and more wildflowers. There was one spot where I got nervous peeking over looking down into a gully (that still had some snow in it) but other than that it was all good, just enjoying the surroundings and listening to the bees buzzing and the breeze blowing.
I could have spent more time hanging out and taking it all in, but I was also motivated to get back to our starting point before the chairlift stopped running for the day. Yes, it’s perfectly possible to walk back down the village; I’ve done it. I just didn’t want to do it after I’d already taxed my joints walking over to another mountain peak. The hardest part was the last uphill; I’d thought about waiting until later in the season to do this hike, when the huckleberries would be ripe and I could pick and eat my way back uphill, but that’s also fire season, and hiking in fire season is not fun. So I trudged, berry-less. I know, poor me. Every so often, I’d stop and turn around and look back at where I’d been. It felt good to have accomplished this goal. I might even do it again sometime.
All the photos from the hike that I deemed fit to upload are here.