All that was necessary to experience another fabulous day in our mountain playground came together so easily & nicely and played out that way through our entire day exploring the way to Gibbon Pass "Peak"! What I know for sure is that the larch trees were at their absolute peak for every second of the day that we were hugged by them. I don't know about yesterday or if they will be prime tomorrow but being lost in the beautiful larches today was all that mattered!
NOTE: You may want to settle in and get cozy for our story.
We arrived bright and early at the trail head happy to see the gate open this time so we could just drive right on it. My choice was to start at the Castle Junction trail head and do the hike via the Twin Lakes Trail to Lower Twin Lake. I wanted the best chance possible to accomplish reaching that "Peak" this time. This way would be a cumulative elevation gain of close to 1300 instead of 1700 from the other trail head.
It is somewhat of a trudge from the trail head up to Lower Twin Lake.
We got that done and out of the way as quickly as we safely could.
We took a little time at The Lake.
The trail sign for Gibbon Pass at Lower Twin Lake.
We began the next climbing section anxious and excited at the same time to see what the larch trees would be like at The Pass. On the last section of the trail up, the trees began to appear. The trail was lined with them and I felt like I was being hugged by them. They were gorgeous! We came out into the open and I was in awe. I looked up to see The Peak we would be ascending to.
something brewing off in the distance
We invested some time here at official Gibbon Pass as we would not be returning to this section on the way back. It was cold, it was windy, there were flurries in the air here and there. We gobbled down some energy then went on our way to use it up.
passing through the meadow towards the up trail
following the early part of the trail up to The Peak
We arrived on the ridge in no time and then eyed our destination.
It would be that top point in the center of the photo.
My Gibbon Pass "Peak" summit shot!
view of Shadow Lake below
I wanted to hike the entire stretch of the Ridge.
view from the ridge
view from the ridge and seeing our summit spot to the right
along the ridge
one long last look
We made our way through the larches as we descended opting for some final hugs. As you can see the ground cover was so pretty against the golden larches. We popped out right onto the trail, completed a loop and now it was time to return the way we came.
I was feeling a bit of sensory overload.
Such a feast for the eyes!
We fueled up at Lower Twin Lake and then began the long trek back through the forest to the trail head. I always have a hard time with this portion of hikes. I never want to leave and I continue to look back. I took another one last look back before entering the forest.
aiming for the forest
I was so glad we stuck with the plan considering what the forecast was for our day. That snow and rain did not happen. This was a day to cherish. Everyone showed their expertise at embracing. I believe the larches were at their absolute prime today and will be on their way to bed for the year any minute now. Thank you for the most amazing experience in our mountain playground!
Note to self and you: Arriving back at carpool in the city in pitch dark, we encountered an awkward few moments in the parking lot. I made sure the doors were locked and we stayed in the vehicle while he watched us and we watched him. I am not sure what he was up to. There were only our other two parked cars in the lot along with one other. He leered again as did we right back and then he began to run away. I turned my vehicle to face my friends' cars and shone my lights bright while they safely got into their cars and drove off.