Saturday, February 23, 2013

Not Only High at Noon but......

.....high all day.....

If you are like me and have always preferred to pass on hiking High Noon/McNabb areas because you heard it was lacking in everything you look for in a great hike, then be sure to hop on board and ride out our day with me here!  I had a change of heart about heading here since my recent brushes with pretty aspens, rolling hills, and coral color ground cover. They are a new found love!  Between Short Stop, myself and the "purple" book, we were able to formulate a plan that would make for a significant, worthwhile trek.  

We found the parking spot and starting point which was our beginning and ending and which we hoped would have a big loop in between.  We had an early enough start that we could see the sun still sitting on the horizon in the far off distance as we began our first of many, many, many ascents.
colorful shades as the sun peaks through and rises above
Our first summit came quickly.  From what we could see surrounding us we already knew we were in for a smokin' day on High Noon Hills and Sandy McNabb Hills.  It was long before high noon when we reached the first High Noon Hill.  While we were in cowboy country, there were no outlaws to have a shoot out with but my gun was smokin' so I played a movie-like part for my summit shot anyway.  
be sure to keep your eyes open
you never know what you might stumble upon
a small nest resting on twigs a couple inches off the ground
As we carried along up and down the High Noon Hills, the reasons I wanted to hike here were happening before our eyes.  We had the sky open to give way to blue, the aspens were alive and due to the lack of snow it felt like a late spring time hike with the ground color.
We worked our way over the High Noon Hills down to and across the Long Prairie Creek then up the other side to the Sandy McNabb Hills.  Now it was noon and time for lunch.  We were finally getting clearer views of the snow capped peaks to the west and this was the ideal view to dine by.  For a day where the forecast was for high wind gusts, it was a nice treat those gusts never did blow our way.   
The sun felt warm and more warmth came our way as we continued to ascend and descend more hills.  
We reached the high point on Sandy McNabb Hills so that meant time for another summit shot.  
Sandy McNabb Hills were just as pretty as High Noon Hills.
notice Foran Grade under the aspen
The Hills were completed, it was now time to begin the off trail return portion back to where we began.   We elected to stay off the road where we would have had a clear obvious way back.  We stuck with our style of route finding, exploring and finding the more difficult unknown way back.  It's our style where you come upon the unexpected.   We landed at the South Sheep Stock Association Camp. 
We bypassed the gated buildings, shelters, wood piles and machinery.  
Instead we blazed a trail through the field of snow.  
We reached the last gate, closed it behind us.......
.....and headed home!
Today's hike was much more scenic and enjoyable than I was expecting.  In additon to that, it was more of a challenge then I thought it would be and that is due to ascending and descending so many hills.  These Hills were in no way, shape or form lacking in anything a great hike has to offer.  Instead of being high just once in a day, hit these hills and you can get high over and over and over again!



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