The fog rolled off of Texas Lake as the sun began to creep up over the mountains. The birds were already beginning their songs, and our breath that had turned to frost over night began to drip from the underside of our rainfly. We quickly got ready as our anticipation of the climb before us grew. We crossed a bridge over Texas Creek and followed a dirt road to where we met back up with the official trail. As soon as we turned back unto trail, we began to climb.
We had over 2,700 feet over the span of nine miles, which was not horrible but when trail gained elevation, the trail gained elevation. The river crossings were not easy but each time we lucked out with a fallen tree reaching towards the opposing side. Small trees that bent under our weight to large trees that had us dodging and snaking carefully around limbs to trees that became partially submerged under the power of the rushing water. Fortunately, our feet stayed dry and we kept on.
We stopped at 12,000 feet to have lunch and join back up with Charlie and Hannah. Then, we began sharp switchbacks up to the top of the pass another 600 feet. On the side we climbed up there were only patches of snow that were easily avoidable, but the North facing side had other plans for us. A giant ten foot cornice awaited us. To our left and our right we could see where the snow ledge was beginning to split from the wall. Snow spanned a mile down in the valley and Lake Ann was covered in a thick layer of ice. We debated our options of getting down since the trail was conveniently covered in a vertical wall of ice and snow and hanging delicately over the trail was the steepest section of the cornice. We chose an exposed rock slope as our route and began to scramble down. Once we hit snow, we grabbed our sit pads and glissaded lower, then traversed a couple of feet, and glissaded even lower towards the lake. We hit trail again and began to shoe ski a mile down into the valley. We were practically running as we slide several feet on the soles of our shoes barely keeping our balance but laughing the whole way. We made it to a large waterfall rushing down the side of the mountain. Mist sprayed off of the rocks and the setting sun catch a glimpse of each one illuminating the droplet like sparking fire. Once again we were greeted by a fallen log. However, this time the water logged tree was paper thin in some areas and splitting in pieces. We stepped cautiously across making it to the other side, dry and shocked that the trunk held our weight.
Continuing down the mountain we finally reached dry trail where we moved along with speed and ease. Near the base of Mount Huron we found a campsite by the river. As we watched the sun set and the glowing peaks fade, we enjoyed dinner together even though the air grew colder. While we were crawling into our sleeping bags, the stars began to pop to life lighting up the sky and the snow capped mountains surrounding us took on a new look.
Garbelly & Critter