Saturday, September 19, 2015

Gibbon Pass Ritual Re-Enactment

IT'S GO TIME!  Yes, once again it is that time of year to execute the ritual of seeking out those golden glows.  The window of opportunity to see the larch trees in their prime is so very narrow, that you formulate your plan then attack it, no matter what.  We were impressed with the fabulous forecast  for today. I thought how fortunate are we!  Fabulous?  Not so! The weather was the pitts from beginning to end but absolutely everything else all bundled together more than outweighed those pitts.  

We set off early, not to the beat the rush because there is never a rush here, but to have time on our side for the distance and elevation gain and to have plenty of time to "remember to breathe".  The hike starts with a steep downhill from the trail head to Vista Lake.  
Once at eye level with Vista Lake, then the climb begins to Arnica Lake then up to Arnica Meadow then down to Upper Twin Lake then down to Lower Twin Lake then up to Gibbon Pass.  We did not linger long at any of these places rather choosing to get to Gibbon Pass sooner rather than later.  The lingering would come later.  The higher we climbed towards the Pass, the more snow had accumulated.  
passing through the boulder field just before Gibbon Pass
my destination shot at Gibbon Pass
Wet snow/rain continued to fall during our entire visit here.  We went in search of shelter and found a lovely spot in amongst the larger larch trees to dine.  We placed our tarps and spread out for our feast.    Mid way into our feast, we were disrupted by a thunderous roar & crash.  We jumped to check and realized we were far enough way from where a gigantic boulder avalanche just occurred.

After lunch our intentions were to carry on a little higher to a lower ridge belonging to the edge of Copper Mountain.  It was obscured in cloud and snow and we concurred this was not the day to go there.  Instantaneously we decided the place to go higher would be above Arnica Meadow.  We then aimed for the trail back through the larch trees.  
It seemed like in no time at all we were back at the Lower Twin Lake.  
Now was the time to linger.  
Lower Twin Lake
Upper Twin Lake
Surprisingly it seemed like in no time at all we were at Arnica Meadow.  We found the trail on our left that lead us up to numerous viewpoints high above.  The ridge-like space was beautiful all on its own and we agreed it was worthy of being a destination spot.  

Feeling embraced by the golden glow!
up on the Arnica Ridge-Like Viewpoint
It was sprinkling on and off and I found it a challenge to keep drops off my camera lens.  On one side we had a view down to Vista Lake and on the other side we had a view towards Gibbon Pass and down to the Twin Lakes.  We did spot some blue and a rainbow.
descending off Arnica Ridge-Like Viewpoint
For our return portion, we made time to devour just about every view possible at Arnica Lake.  
We headed in a clockwise direction along the Lake shore to as far as we could safely go.  
This was at the beginning.  
this was at the far end
Just before leaving lovely Arnica Lake, I took one last look back then physically & mentally captured a shot.  Here we could see that Arnica viewpoint on the upper left.  The larch trees have yet to hit prime time, I would say in a few days they will be as golden as golden can be.  
We executed our ritual flawlessly!  Well, maybe not quite flawlessly.  We did opt for an alternate high point view when our original one was obscured, there were a few slips and trips amongst us into mud into water over roots on rocks, mud made its way up over the knees for one and to the top gaiter line for others, there was the odd wardrobe & equipment putting-on malfunction and some of us could have used additional or other types of wardrobe pieces.  

In my mind, I caculated that we would be anywhere from 10 hours to 12 hours on the trail if we were to attack our day as planned.  This was the first time ever, I did not watch my clock at all while hiking. I did hear one friend at one point utter the time of day but I let that pass.   I checked my watch when we started and the next time I looked was when I was back at the trail head.  Between 10 & 12 hours?  We were 11:08! Every single second was worth it, I made sure of that!  

Thank you so much for every single second of our day!

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