Twelve Senior Trailblazers headed out for another "extra" hike yesterday, this time to Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm, a pretty long drive. We decided not to go on Monday because of the weather, and it turned out to be a very good call. We learned from several hikers we met on the trail that the day before was white-out conditions and nasty weather up here in the High Country. You can see new snow on the mountains in the picture above, along with the beginnings of fall colors in the foreground.
Early in the morning as we began our hike, we saw the remnants of yesterday's snow on the peaks and some low clouds; otherwise the skies were perfectly clear. It was also cold; the temperature was in the forties and cold enough for us to stay bundled up most of the day. We climbed up 33 switchbacks to Cascade Pass, where we met a forest ranger and several other hikers. And a bit of wildlife, although this marmot was obviously foraging where he knew he might get a snack from the hikers; he was almost within arm's reach.
The views were absolutely stunning. Although we weren't exactly warm, by the time we reached the Sahale Arm to continue upwards, the wind began to blow hard enough to cause us to pull out gloves and warm hats, along with parkas, if we were smart enough to bring one. The picture below is of Johannesburg Mountain, the only one I know by name. Its grandeur continued to cause me to stop and admire it often as we gained altitude.
You can see that as the day wore on, more clouds formed in that brilliant blue sky. Every time the sun disappeared, the temperature dropped as I shivered and wished I had brought more warm clothes. Some of the hikers went on up the Arm and gained a full 360-degree view, but I along with half the others stopped short of that spot. We could see Doubtful Lake below us as we enjoyed our lunch.
It's rare for me not to include more pictures of my fellow hikers, but the view on this incredibly beautiful trek caused me to forget to incorporate people into my shots. I did get this pretty nice one of Al, however.
We were all happy and tired as we headed back to the trailhead, ready to make our way to Annie's Pizza Parlor outside of Concrete. By the time we reached the cars, we had covered nine miles (or eleven if you made it all the way to the top) and more than 2,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. Our high point was at 6,200 feet of elevation, so it's not only a pretty good hike, it was much higher than our usual hikes. Here's another people shot as we headed back down, showing the trail we followed.
All in all, each of the Trailblazers agreed that it was one of the best hikes of the season, and Al received many compliments for his decision to change both the date (from Monday to Tuesday) and the destination to this one, a real delight for us all. Now on to Skyline Divide tomorrow!