We had to find our way, and that was really fun. There's a saddle to the right of the peak that's just out of the picture, and that was our first goal. Soon, however, we discovered we were not alone! A family of mountain goats were watching our progress and seemed a bit nervous about us, even though I wouldn't even THINK of going where they were.
The going got pretty steep pretty quick, and the dwarf spruce trees were both a blessing (hand holds) and a problem (hard to push your way through them).
We made the saddle without much trouble (aside from some uncharacteristic trepidation from one of the crew, who will remain anonymous), ((but her initials are Sue)). I was having a great time, and even taking a moment to smell the roses (ok, take pictures of the Indian Paintbrush).
We followed the path that the mountain goats had made (that should have been a clue!)...
...which dumped us out onto the shoulder of the peak (not the top), which consisted of nothing but an enormous rock field that was mostly loose and unstable, and at more than a 45 degree angle!
(I promise...this is WAY steeper than it looks!) Finding no way to safely ascend this talus slope, and seeing that a misstep would end back in that meadow where I took the first picture of the day, we opted to live to hike another day and headed back down. We were tantalizingly close to the summit (we thought, but later learned we weren't so close after all) but it simply was not worth the risk. We had a lovely trip back through meadows of flowers and ROCKS (I like rocks, can you tell?), and I was fortunate to snap these last two pictures of two kinds of beauty...my bright, shiny, happy, adventurous daughter Kate, (with my beautiful wife Sue in the background, taking pictures as usual),
and a lovely stand of Monk's Hood among the Skunk Cabbage.
Wow. I feel so very blessed to be able to spend time with these two ladies that I love so very much in a place that makes my heart glad. I am, of all men, most fortunate.