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Thursday, October 1, 2020

An Indian Summer Hike To Remember

We are joyously wallowing in a remarkable run of Indian Summer days, the kind that forebodes a change in season is long overdue. Mornings are crisp, exhales steamy, and the ungloved hand seeks warmth in pockets. Wardrobes are a contradiction if fall, a time when shade mandates extra layers while full sun begs a simple t-shirt will be more than adequate. 

Ten days after our long awaited triumph over the elusive and arduous Bimetallist to Weehawken backcounty footslog up and over a lung-sucking 13,000 foot pass, we were itching for a redo. This time Hiker Babes Ruthie and Michelle joined in (Jen is still on Injured Reserve after falling and breaking her leg on an earlier attempt).

Logistics on this, or any, one-way hike requires dropping a pickup vehicle at the hike's endpoint, then driving on up to the start point. Our feet hit the trail at 7:45 AM. It was shaded and frosty, but the immediate uphill switchbacks rapidly warmed us up. Twenty five minutes later, we found the sun. Time to shed some layers.

 Having been lured out her seasonal "I'm-too-crazy-busy" retirement by Your's Truly, Michelle confessed she was desperate for a long, hard, steep hike capable of purging a few "demons." Well, she asked for it...

Zoom in on the above photo to see the route (red line)

Basin 1

Danger: Hiker Babes at play on an Indian Summer day.

This whole hike was "New Dots" for Michelle. Ruthie, however, was along for the failed attempt, the one where "Guide Noir" led three Hiker Babes down the wrong drainage. Jen crashed and broke her leg on the retreat. 

But let's not dwell on the negative, lest it happen to one of us. This lonely backcountry hike is one I will never, ever tire of. It's difficulty keeps most tourists at bay, which means you're likely to have the whole thing to yourself. Except for the occasional refreshing breeze, there was no wind. Excluding the tinkle-gurgle of creeks, a rockslide, and our pounding hearts, there was nary a sound. 

We marched as comrades on a mission, wallowing in the silence and spectacle of unfathomable mountain majesty. We rejoiced in the gift of a weather-perfect day. Ruthie rose to the challenge of descending a sketchy thousand foot bobsled run of loose scree and marbles. Somehow, we all arrived worn but safe after weathering 2,700 feet of elevation gain followed by 4,000 feet of toe-jamming descent that ended with switchbacks through aspen groves at the very peak of autumnal color.

Grab your boots and hiking pole and "climb" along with me and The Hiker Babes, to a place and state of mind that is the stuff of dreams... 

Dropping into Basin 1

From Basin 1, looking back at the ridge we crossed

From Basin 1, looking north

Ruthie lends "scale" to Basin 1 

The climb out of Basin 1

Michelle, "outstanding in her field."

The climb!

The views

The False Summits  :)



Taking a break before heading up to Potosi's saddle


Almost there...

Ptarmigan !!!

Gaining Potosi's saddle

Uh...we're going down this???

You're shitting me, right?

Nope. Just follow Bobbie...

Easy Peasy, NOT!

First one to fall buys ice cream....oops, sorry Ruthie.

Geezer training ground for Grace and balance. It's steeper than it looks, too.

Finally off the scree-fall onto sweet, soft tundra

Time for lunch

A table-rock for three...

Almost down,, dropping below timberline into Ms Autumn's fall palette.

 Peace out,
Thanks for joining us for this stellar hike. You WILL be seeing it again next year :)
Heading to Utah soon. See ya there!
Mark and Bobbie and the Hiker Babes      


  1. So even if we can visit you guys in Ouray next summer, we definitely won't be joining you on that one, beautiful as it is!

  2. Replies
    1. Triple WOW WOW WOW!! I zoomed in on a bunch of these gorgeous photos to study the details, amazing!! And the Ptarmigan! in its perfect setting along with a table-rock for three :) Thanks for taking me along on a magnificent hike.

    2. Thanks Terri...and don't forget: To get the highest resolution for viewing sharply focused details in all my photos, be sure to re-view them in Album Format after reading my post. Photos on the Blogger's post page have less resolution and "zooming in" shows that as the pictures become fuzzy. If you really want to zoom in (enlarge) my photos and study the details in high resolution go to the album by clicking on the first photo below in the blog text. You can "arrow through" them or click on specific ones. You will find Bobbie and other Hiker Babes that you can't see on the main page photos. The Album page is by far a better viewing experience!!!!

  3. Gorgeous and wonderful, and a lot better than that TV show I saw with all the shouting the other night! I'm Bobbie's age... how the heck does she have such good knees? Just a lurker here... thanks for your pics and prose. Annette in Omaha

    1. Annette, To keep my knees functioning I keep moving and take Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Collagen, Turmeric and sometimes end the day with ibuprofen.😃Bobbie

    2. Thanks for coming out of "Lurkdom" Annette in Omaha!!!

    3. Bobbie, thanks for the info!!

  4. Beautiful hike to a world unseen to most!!! (But you guys and gals are crazy! :)

  5. Beautiful hike ! I've lurked for several years and am inspired by your fabulous photos and good energy. Sheila in Oakland MD

    1. I really appreciate you "coming out." Every comment helps to keep me at it :).

  6. Living in Prescott I see the locals complaining all the time about how Californians have taken over their town. Frankly, as you have seen, any place that is desirable is going to attract people to it, change is inevitable as wealth and population grows. Like you, we find that simply getting out into nature, the more remote the better, gets us all the peace and solitude we desire. Lisa


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