The big day… time to climb the mountain.
Out of camp, we headed east of the lake on a spur trail. About a half mile in, we crossed a “trail closed” sign, but figured that it was too late to turn back. Unfortunatly, there was a very good reason for the trail to be closed – much of it had washed out and we faced a steep scramble just to get back on the real trail.
Now we faced the long climb up the rocky dusty path. I carried you and many of the supplies. You mother carried the food and water – in a “jury rigged” fanny pack.
Ruth Anne and Mike carried packs, but also had the dogs to help pull them along. Unfortunatly, this turned out to be a bit of a disadvantage… it was a hot, dry day and the dogs quickly started to overheat. It slowed both of them down. Luckily, there is a small, green cirque lake at the false summit ( about 9000′). We rested there for a while and let the dogs cool down.
You mother and I continued up the final assent with you in tow. Less than 500′ from the summit, I had to stop to catch my breath and you were getting cranky. On the steep, red-rock slope, Sam pulled you out of the pack and practiced her extreme breast-feeding technique. Once at the summit, you were all better. The altitude didn’t seem to have any effect. You climbed and ran around without a care.
On the northern most peak (10,358′) we took in the view. You could clearly see the North and Middle Sisters. Mt Jefferson, Washington and 3-fingered Jack were also visible – though partially obstructed by the increasing smoke.
For the short hour that we watched, it was clear that fire was only getting bigger. When it reached a patch of already dead timber, black smoke stared to billow. You could literally see the flames as it jumped from tree to tree. Later, we would find that the fire was burning across nearly 5,000 acres.
The climb back down was also long, but not nearly as strenuous. You slept almost the entire way back. You seem to like the faster moving pace.