Sunday, October 16, 2011

Granite Mountain (8.6 miles)

The weather was forecast to be pretty decent, so I told The Big Guy we should go for a fall color hike while the hikin' was still good. I browsed the nice selection online for the local choices and settled on Granite Mountain. It's not my usual M.O. to willingly volunteer for a hike like this one that has 3800' of elevation gain -- about 1000' feet per mile. If you're a hiker, you know that's rough stuff. If you're not a hiker, why not??? Get up! Get out there! After you see the pictures I'm about to show you, you're going to listen to me.

Not this one. This looks like almost any old trail around here. But they all have to start somewhere, and this one started here.

There was low fog today which kept the first 1.5 miles looking pretty dark and dank. Have faith all ye who hike here.

To the right. Gird your loins, the serious climb begins here.
Cresting the fog line.

Here comes that fall color.

The ever-present Forest Pig.

OK, then, things are starting to get good. It has also already been a very hard grind to this point. Layers have come off, pant legs have been unzipped. Those are some tasty huckleberries that Forest Pig is eying.

Autumn Blanket.

Climbing out of the huckleberry hillside.

The granite of Granite Mountain. See the fire lookout up there on that big pile of granite in the middle? That's the goal.

Everywhere you look is a great photo.

This was such a pretty area at the base of the last climb. Obviously, trail workers (most of them volunteers) have worked hard to make the passage nice for all of us.

At the base of the lookout 5600'. The station itself is closed for the season, but I don't think I would've been able to climb around to the stairs even if it had been open. Nothing was too scary on the way up, but this part had me crawling and hunkering. There were a good number of people on this trail today, many of whom caught up here for their (noisy) lunches. I had a hard time watching some of them scramble around on these granite slabs -- the perspective makes it looks like they're walking on air and that makes me feel woozy to see.

I found a "comfortable" hole in which to sit for my snack.

My companions visiting me in my lunch burrow.

Time to descend.

But let's look at that view one more time.

And again.

This pic I took because we are not that far from one another, but the incline makes it seem so.

Pretty little ponds all tucked in there.

Feet starting to hurt. Legs beginning to protest. And only halfway down. Still sunny, so still smiling.

And back into the foggy forest. Even though I know my feet and legs are going to be very cranky with me tomorrow, I'm glad I picked this hike. For The Big Guy to have grown up hiking these peaks but to still find them challenging and beautiful and to be able to share the adventure is priceless.

Now where is the Epsom salt?