Today we started out early as planned to make it to the summit. It was a cloudy day, but no rain. It started to get cold and windy at the scales. This was going to be the longest day on the hike.
After a (long while) of climbing we made it to what is called the Golden Stairs. Basically, it is a steep wall of boulders that we had to scramble over in order to get to the summit of the trail. It was called the Golden Stairs because during the winter when the trail was used, the prospectors and gold seekers would cut stairs into the snow. The stairway to gold….
Along this climb there are also two false summits. Just when you think you are at the top (not just once, but twice) you still have a ways to go. And by the time I hit the ‘first’ summit, Klaas was probably sitting in the cabin at the summit waiting for me. :) A brown black bear that we had met at the scales decided that it would be a good idea to climb the Golden Stairs alongside us. It was not at all interested in us, rather it put us to shame the way it scaled the Stairs.
At the summit there is a monument dedicated to the prospectors and gold seekers that passed through there. It was also a marker of the border between the US and Canada. We started out in the US this morning and ended up on Canadian soil by the end of the day.
I was known as the guy with the orange pack. I don’t think you could lose me in a crowd with my pack cover :)
By the time I made it to the summit, Klaas (and many others that started behind me) were well rested, fed and warm. After a short break (for me) we continued on our way . We still had another 4miles to go before we made it to Happy Camp, our camp for the night.
Just after the cabin on the summit there was a snow field that we had to climb down. I made it about halfway down on my feet. The rest I slid on my …. well, not my feet. :) Klaas just happened to have his camera ready. (see below ) Just for the record, Klaas also wiped out, but I didn’t get a picture. Just ‘cause I’m nice like that.
After we made it down the ice field, Klaas kind of ditched me ( I’m sure he ran). I took my time making my way to Happy Camp. I needed the down time to regroup. Just before camp I saw a pile of elephant sh*t. One of the guys at camp mentioned that he had seen a grizzly bear not far from camp. Kinda creeped me out.
Made it safely to camp, a bit cold, but happy (haha) to be there.
A yummy supper of lasagna (it was awesome!), a bs session in the cabin while staying warm, and a hot chocolate before bed made for the rest of the evening. Onward tomorrow! G’night.
Unknown grave along the trail.
Part of the trail, weaving in and out of the boulders, made for hard climbing.
A wagon wheel hidden in the shrubs.
The view looking up (when I dared to see how much farther I had to go…)
The view looking down. We had already hiked quite a ways by this point.
Looking down as well.You can see a bit of a glacier poking out beneath the clouds.
Looking up at Klaas. Seems like that’s all I did today! :)
Looking up (yes, up. Look at the way the stream is flowing.) We still had to climb all the way up into the clouds….
(pic by Klaas) A much needed break.
See, me and my nice ORANGE pack. Should have worn gaiters.
(pic by Klaas) Just about bift’er in this creek.
The tram tower (or what is left of it.)
Still looking up!!
We’re at the scales. This is where the gold seekers would reweighed everything. Every ounce would make a difference if you hired someone to help you take your goods over, or used the tram.
Just about to climb the Golden Stairs. The stairs are to the right of Klaas’ (the idiot wearing shorts :P ) head, straight through the pass on the right part of the picture. It was stinkin’ cold here!
The Stairs are located in the middle of the picture, veering left. The pass is slightly visible through the clouds.
Klaas, and the markers that we were to follow up the Golden Stairs. (follow the red stakes)
(pic by Klaas) Me climbing the Stairs.
Looking down, I’m about halfway up the first part of the Stairs.
Our friend, the brown black bear, that joined us on the Stairs.
Top of one of the false summits.
(pic by Klaas) Looking up at the Golden Stairs.
(pic by Klaas) The bear.
(pic by Klaas) Woo! Made it. (slightly before the top, but close enough)
Looking down at where we had climbed.
The summit, where the tram ended.
The cabin, and a ‘loo with a view’.
Black bear print (the one that climbed up with us)
Pretty much, the view from the loo!
(Pic by Klaas) Made’r.
(pic by Klaas) Going down the ice field. Erm, not on my feet…..
(pic by Klaas) Where I stopped. Just before the lake.
Views along the trail on the way to Happy Camp.
Our resting grounds for the night.