Saturday, September 7, 2019

Piper Pass September 7, 2019

There are always the obvious reasons for being "out & about" in our mountain playground just out my back door and to the west. Today though there was another mission which I wanted to accomplish and I could only be successful with that if I reached the summit of Piper Pass.  This retrieval mission had worked its way to the forefront of my mind and I wanted to get the job done.  I knew we would have glorious colours up in the Piper Meadows at this time of year, the weather forecast said supreme, so it was go time.  A friend was on board to share the adventure with me.
For the second time this week, I was at the Elbow Lake Trail Head to start hiking and ascended up to Elbow Lake.  The Lake had a different look this morning.  Backcountry campers had a fire going at the same time the sun was coming up and peeking through the trees.
We made a quick trip of getting around Elbow Lake and along the Big Elbow Trail in favour of reaching our turn off sooner rather than later.  We arrived at the cairn and veered left down slope to rock hop across the Elbow Creek.  We worked our way through the forest gradually ascending to the wide open meadows between Elpoca and Tombstone Mountains.  
At the wide open Piper Meadow we could see our destination ahead.  Our goal is to reach the col at the point top left where the dark brown mountain meets the beige rugged ridge.  There is a summit cairn there and I want to get to that cairn.  On the way through the meadow we spotted a group of people as you can see in the lower left.  Later we found out they were from Outward Bound.
We took a short break at this big boulder before beginning the final climb.  
You can see how big it is when you look closely and see how little I am in front of it. 
my friend leading the way
We reached the summit and took care of capturing our photos first.  
Happy & High
Thumbs up to success!  This is the cairn I was on a mission to reach.  Now it was time to search for a blue stone with pink painting on it.  It was not obvious just looking at the cairn so we needed to peal away the rocks and work our way down.  I was concerned it may not be there but then my friend declared "Here it is!"  I was so happy!  She let me pick it out and then we built the cairn back up to the way it was.
This stone has a story!
On my first hike ever up to Piper Pass on September 4, 2010, I took along a stone I painted to tuck away in the summit cairn.  It says "on top of the world" on the front, it has Sept 4/10 on a side and on the back side are five pink hearts.  I hiked to Piper Pass again on September 12, 2015 and the stone was still there and I left there.  Over the years I have seen postings of photos of my stone on Facebook, Hiking Club Albums and Personal Albums by others who found it.  Yet, after all that it still remained there.  I wanted to take it back home so that was today's mission.  I hoped it would still be there.  It is back home and will now forever be a part of my rockery.  It has a wonderful meaning now and if this stone could talk, I bet it would have a story to tell.
After all that summit business was taken care off, we hiked up slope a bit to settle down to dine.  This was my lunch time view.  The summit cairn is that tiny pile of rocks in the middle bottom.  While we were dining the group of people we saw earlier reached The Pass.  We chatted for awhile and found out then they were from Outward Bound. 
my friend descending from Piper Pass
We were back down on firm terra cotta.
While ascending we spotted a tarn which I called Piper Tarn.  
It was now time to head over and check it out.  
Piper Tarn
We ditched our packs and hung out here for quite some time.
After playtime, we continued on with our day meandering along on the beautiful Piper Meadow.  
We were methodically slow all along here.  
The scenery was so beautiful and the colors were amazing.  
We arrived back at the forest section and made it our business of getting through that quickly.  
Then we had the open vistas again.  
Now we just needed to cross Piper Creek and get back onto the Big Elbow Trail.
I accidentally slipped into the Creek with the water coming over my boot top and filling my boot.
It was squish squash for a little while.
 We took one last snack break and then it was time to move on down the trail. 
The view back as we motored along.
We were happy to be back at Elbow Lake because we knew our hike would soon be over and we could get our boots off and let our feet breathe.  It was very busy at The Lake with people strolling around, sitting around and fishing everywhere.  It was still very warm and so calm.  This photo says so much about the early evening weather.

Today turned out being more than I hoped for or expected.  I am so happy to have my summit stone back.  When I admire it as it sits in the rockery it will remind me of today and many other days reaching other summits out there in our mountain playground.  The stone is worn and weathered.  I will now spray it with a sealant to secure this beautiful look.

Thank you for today

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