After a restful starry night at our high camp near West Oval Lake, we were greeted to a sonic wall by birdsong calling us to explore this new terrain. And sans heavy pack! So, we packed some basics: snacks, herbal bug spray (made in Bellingham and works better than DEET!), mineral sun block, a couple of layers with rain jacket, sunglasses for the bright snow, and water bladder. To facilitate quicker and safer travel, we also brought trekking poles and ice axes.
The dogs just grabbed their enthusiasm. “Uh…ahem!” Oh, they did have their leashes with and more on that later.
With options for which direction to head we more or less chose up. Up to find the really expansive views and scope out what could easily have been a “loop hike” (preferable in many ways as you are always travelling new scenery).
First we ascended the “walk-up” Gray Peak. This is generally defined as a summit that can be reached without having to scramble (or, use your hands).
This afforded us some vews into the next valley and beyond. Beyond to the mountains that brought us together at Holden Village.
Gwen got to sign her first summit register at 8082 feet. We lingered with the ladybugs (a strange North Cascade phenomena) until the clouds began to grow ominous and decided to head back down to the couple of lakes in a basin below. There was a 20% chance of thunderstorms after all.
We hastened our descent by glissading soft snow to the larch forest below. This certainly requires skill and can be dangerous if not done properly. I’ll be writing about this in a future post, for sure. When done correctly it is a time saver and a hoot to boot!
Sure enough, at the lake the thunderheads clapped and it began to rain. No lightning thankfully and we were able to take shelter under some firs. Gwen journalled, I napped. The skies began to clear and we headed back to camp which meant gaining a different ridge and one more glissade.
Back at camp we decided on not continuing for a loop hike as it would have meant moving camp or having a really long day out. So the plan was to have leisure time all evening and morning.
But with crystal clear skies the following morning I could not help but be drawn to the heights for another gaze into my favorite stretch of peaks. We packed lighter this time as all we had to do was follow the ridge where we were camped to the high point.