Pumarinri posted in the partners sub-forum looking for someone to hike to Mason Lake via the old trail, hike up Mt. Defiance, and then traverse across the ridge over to P3, and head down from there. I thought this sounded fun, so I arranged to meet at the TH at 7:45am.
We met at the parking lot, and instead of going down the main trail, walked back down the forest service road and shot up a side trail that probably took a good 6 or 7 minutes off the hike. From there we hooked up with the Old Mason Lake trail, which passes over a stream a few times and winds its way up the valley between Bandera and Defiance, letting you out right before the stream emanates from Mason Lake.
We stopped for a snack, and then went up Mt. Defiance. We ran into NWhikers own Rob at the top. Defiance is beatiful right now; there's wildflowers everywhere.
After rehydrating and eating some food, we went back down from the summit and linked up to the Thompson Lake trail, and eventually we took a left into the wilds (right before the first snow field). The first half of the ridge is very easy; it's just a matter of finding the right boot path. About half-way out we ran into rocks, and had to start climbing around them. This stuff isn't bad, but it did slow my pace way down.
After breaking out of the rock fields, we wound up on the south face of P3, and began sidehilling. Now, I've never gone sidehilling before, and gave it a fair shake, but about 100-150 yards out, I looked down at 3000ft of exposed mountain below me, and thought to myself "...this is retarded", and froze up. Pumarinri came back around, and we worked our way back up to the ridge. Eventually we got to a large rock pretty close to the summit, and Pumarinri scouted out the path ahead and it was going to require more extreme sidehilling to continue. So he went ahead to deposit a photo of a friend who's passed on in the summit register.
Then we headed back the way we came. Anyway, it was a really good hike with a great guy--I got to hear a lot of stories about some people who loved the mountains, and wish I could have met them. Pumarinri is practically a mountain goat, by the way.
Hey Brad, here are two pics on Defiance summit from Saturday's "adventure". I had a great time hiking and hope that you did too. It was good to be able to put a photo of umbrella lady on top of her personal peak, P3.
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