Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ball Pass September 12, 2019

NEVER HAVE I EVER!!!   I was excited for our adventure up into Ball Pass because this was a new destination for me.  All four weather forecast reports that I always check lined up identically so I knew for certain we were in for ideal elements all day long made up of sunshine & double digits.   BUT, today I was blatantly reminded of "what I know for sure"!  I know for sure that when you go to the mountains go prepared for anything and everything no matter what the forecast.  Thankfully I do know that for sure and I did come prepared anyway.  So, we geared up in rain at the parking lot to begin our day!

Never have I ever hiked for such a long distance lost in amongst fog and cloud with very, very low visibility!  I knew my friend was close behind me but I checked to make sure every now and then.  We were thankful for the autumn shades as that was the only cheerful thing along the way.
Every now and then the fog lifted and clouds opened to show off the mountains we knew were there.
I read reports about all the downed trees and having to climb over them or limbo under them for a few kilometers along the early part of the trail.  How fortunate were we today!  The trail had very recently been maintained and the way was clear for us for the entire length.  The photo below in only one very section that was cleared.  We now had HOPE!
(A gigantic THANK  YOU to the crew who must have put in many hours of hard work to clear the way for all the hikers.) 
We dubbed the trail Hope Trail instead of Hawk Creek Trail and our destination Hope Pass instead of Ball Pass.  We hoped the weather would turn around and become what it was forecasted to be.  Once again we were afforded a peek at the peaks.  I decided I should snap shots at these seconds in time.
We were realizing true hope when the sky opened and gave us blue.  No sooner did I captured this photograph of the beautiful wild paintbrush when the fog rolled in and the cloud cover enveloped us yet once again.
We were taking turns at the front leading the way giving each other the opportunity to dry out.  I was soaked from my toes to the top of my thighs.  The gaiters were beyond protecting me any more.  The rain did stop and it did warm up somewhat to the point where it was too warm for a jacket.  As we carried on through the bushes and shrubs sections our shirts were becoming drenched.  Switch about, you dry off now!   Yet, we were afforded beautiful autumn colors to brighten our day.
peek-a-boo, yes I see you, quickly snap a shot
waterfall along the way
We knew we were getting closer to Hope Pass, I mean Ball Pass, and our hope for a pleasant summit visit escalated when the sky offered up blue as we hiked through the meadow.  We could now see all the surrounding mountains.
cheerfully autumn
Blue where are you?  
We passed through the last meadow and then began a short easy ascent towards Ball Pass.  
I am beginning to give up on hope!
at Ball Pass
We scampered over the rocks to a higher point on Ball Pass to have this view.  Even though the sun was not out, it was gray & dark & cold, it still was amazing to be here.  That is Mount Ball right in front and at the bottom right of it you can see Shadow Lake.  To the right of Shadow Lake in the first grassy area is Shadow Lake Lodge.  Standing here I could see right across to Gibbon Pass where I have been a few times during larch season.
Shadow Lake Lodge and Cabins
This little larch tree is turning gold.
my summit shot at Ball Pass
thumbs up to success, we made it
sitting on the edge with Isabelle Peak to my left, glacier in the middle and Mount Ball on the right
It was so cold up here.  I had all my layers on and I was still cold.  We settled down to dine but it was not a pleasant dining experience.  I was still drying off, I was so cold, I was shaking, I devoured my food with this as my view.
After eating I strolled around to site-see and take photos, trying to stay warm as my friend was trying to eat while she shook.  Even though conditions were not the most user-friendly, I liked what I saw up here and I knew I wanted to return someday with hopes of having nice conditions to stay awhile and explore.  There are loads of opportunities to do that up here.
There were little surprises here and there.
There was one section we came through that was filled with larches. 
They were all leaning to the left as we were on the return portion of our hike.  
I just tried to fit in with them.
On the hike back we could now clearly see everything we could not on the way in.  
We knew there were mountains there and thankful to now see them.
My spirits lifted awhile ago and I was finding lots to love about this day!
We expected this all day but got it right now for about twenty minutes.
back at the Hawk Creek crossing
The clouds began rolling in and out again and getting dark again.  When the sun peeked through it did create wonderful photo opportunities.  This was my last look back.  We both just wanted the hike over with at this point and just made a business of it now.  We continued with the "we are here bears" chatter until we were back out to the highway in the wide open space.
Me and all my stuff were finally dry by the time we reached the car.  With everything we were handed today, we made the best of this adventure.  For lots of the time early on it took work to think positive and to keep moving forward.  It was each little tease of bright, of blue, of color that gave us hope.   At times it felt like that was all we had, hope.  Keep the faith, have hope!  We did and our day turned around to be a fun adventure in a unique place that left us with the feeling we need to come back here one day!  

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