Everyone else was off hiking and climbing and I was left to a rare solo weekend. Time to visit an old favorite. I was at the Rachel Lake trailhead at 8:40 am to find only a couple of vehicles. The first few miles of trail are pretty flat and go by fast. The cloud level was low and Hibox was in and out of the clouds as I passed below.
Hibox And Clouds
I reached Rachel Lake in 1:40 and took a short break. Next is a short steep climb to the ridge top. Views down to Rachel and some umexpected flowers along here.
I met two other hikers at the ridge top junction. There are some blueberries on the ridge climb but less than usual and they are much smaller. I left them for the bears. They'll need them. I also saw several marmots lower on the ridge.
Soon I was heading into the clouds. Visibility dropped to very little. There were more and better flowers on the ridge than I expected.
Into The Clouds
Raindrops On Bloom
I continued past all the false summits as the visibiltiy dropped even more. I did meet one hiker with a dog who had spent 45 minutes on the summit waiting for a view before giving up.
Another Bump Ahead
As I reached the summit I saw one heck of a big cairn. It was not there when last I visited in 2003. It's about seven feet tall and growing.
I reached the summit just before noon and stayed for 45 minutes. At times I had short views out though the clouds never did clear.
Tarns In The Mist
I retraced my steps down the ridge to the junction and headed straight towards Rampart Lakes. It only took me 13 minutes to reach the first lake, much less than I expected. There is still a few snow patches along the trail.
Hibox And Lilas
I spent a little time poking around the lakes and then headed back. In short order I was back at the junction. I reached Rachel to find the crowds had arrived.
Alta From Ramparts
Creek And Alta
I still had the steep crummy trail to descend to the valley below. It was just as steep and crummy as ever. As I passed by Hibox it was now all blue sky. I passed a lot of folks heading in. Back at the trailhead the lot was nearly full.
Hibox And Blue Sky
I have done Alta with bright sun and in the rain. It was different thils day with the thick clouds. In some ways it was like doing the trail for the first time. I'm sure I'll be back to visit agailn some day.
You must have been one of those guys that left just ahead of me. I was in the black Maxima parked right next to the rest rooms.
I left the trail head at 08:45. No one passed me and I didn't catch anybody. I slogged up to Rachel lake taking waypoints/pictures etc in more like 2 hours so I wasn't gonna catch anybody unless someone was going up on crutches.
I bagged it .17 miles from the summit at 12:18 when the lack of views were apparent as I couldn't even really see much further ahead and the clouds seemed to just keep rolling through, not really burning off.
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