Saturday, February 27, 2010

Here! There! Everywhere!

When my friend put the suggestion out there that he was experiencing mountain withdrawals, I was quick to say I would accompany him on a hike to help cure him of his symptoms. We picked Hailstone Butte/Sentinel Peak as our destination. Violet marks the lookout on the Butte. Looks doable!
I suspected I might be in need of bricks in my pack but as it turned out, stones would be sufficient. It was breezy, not gail force winds like I experienced last year. We worked our way behind and up, enjoying the scenery along the way and also assessing the trail and conditions.
As we got closer, we spent a little more time assessing, going a little slower and less time enjoying the scenery. Trail conditions changed from lightly snow covered grassy gentle slopes, to those dreaded steep snowy slippery slopes. There were two ways to attain the Butte summit but both looked sketchy. One was to traverse a steep snowy slope that looked like it had potential for the snow to give way and slide or the other way was to scramble over a rock face then climb over a cornice overhanging the ridge to our destination.
Once G-Force stated the options, I was quick to reply "I'm not going, I want out of here and right now!" His normal come back would have been "it's doable, you can do it, come on let's at least give it a try" but this time, no words were spoken, he turned around and was out of there quicker then I was with me saying "wait up"! I trust his judgement and then felt like I had a little bit of mountain savvy myself when I realized I made a smart call. With only .46 kms to go over an elevation of 70 meters to the top, it was hard to swallow pride. Now the sun was starting to beat down and heat up, we could already feel the snow conditions changing on our descent.

To add a little fun to the descent, we worked our way over to a safe forest area then explored and bushwhacked our way down. Along the way, we also found an open area with amazing scenery to stop for lunch and make another plan.
Another plan was put in place!  We would work our way back to the vehicle, drop heavy stuff then carry on up and explore the Windy Peak Trail.  What a difference in trail conditions from one side of the road to the other.  On this side, instead of snow that was thigh deep at times, here it was only ankle or knee deep but most of the time no snow at all.   The sights were different over here too!
I couldn't help but notice today's cloud formations!  I was thankful for these because the sun got down right hot at times and I have the pink nose and cheeks to prove it.  It is time to add sunscreen to my pack.
We carried on to another high point and decided we should call this our summit for the day.  We spent some time here admiring the view.
If you have reached this far in my post, then you like me, and saying this is a large post.  It was a large day and I don't want any of the experience to be diminished! We were:
As we were nearing the end our adventure, I knew G-Force was cured of his symptoms but may have developed other symptoms!  I could see his bright pink face from the sun, the cut he got on his head was hidden by his hair and the soon to be stiff legs from all the ups and downs will no doubt show up tomorrow.  I am sure though, he is thinking it was all worth it! 

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