Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sequoias of Yosemite

         My goal in Yosemite National Park is simply this: to walk among the kings of the forest, California’s giant sequoias.  The Blackberry Inn in Groveland, California is our base-camp for this quest.
         It's a glorious October morning and two other couples greet us in the Inn’s breakfast room—one of them from Dublin, Ireland, the other originally from London, now living in Indianapolis.   Our conversations extol the wonders of Yosemite; we're all eager to get out and explore the park.

Immediately after breakfast my husband and I leave the Inn and drive to today’s first destination—the Tuolumne Grove of giant sequoias.  We start down the trail and are in awe of the towering trees—giant Douglas Fir and Sugar Pine among them.  But pines and firs, amazing though they may be, pale in comparison to sequoias.  A short one-mile downhill walk leads us into the grove and we find ourselves at the base of a massive sequoia.  Many of the trees in this grove are at least 1000 years old and a few have reached 2000 years of age.   
In Awe of the Giants.
We walk through the Tunnel Tree, the trunk of a giant sequoia carved out in the late 1800’s to allow stagecoaches to pass through.  From there we stroll a quarter-mile nature trail past a fallen giant.  This tree fell 27 years ago after a particularly harsh winter; presumably the weight of the snow combined with soft ground toppled the tree.  The tree is massive and the trail follows the length of its trunk, revealing the enormity of it.  We snap extra photos of the stately trees in the Tuolumne Grove and begin the strenuous uphill climb to the trailhead.  

The Mariposa grove of sequoias near the park’s south entrance is our next destination.  When we arrive at the grove the parking lot is full of cars and of people.  Over two million people visit the Mariposa Grove each year.  But even with all these people this is a worthwhile destination.  The big trees are everywhere, including in the parking lot.  And there they stand, as they’ve stood for millennia—majestic, proud, awe-inspiring.
Tim and I hike the 1.3 mile trail to the Grizzly Giant and we are the only ones on the trail.  There is a shorter trail to the Giant; it parallels the tram road and it’s the one everyone else takes.  But on our trail we have a group of giants all to ourselves.  We approach a connector trail, then follow it to the more popular trail.  Along the way we stop to gaze at a giant ponderosa pine and see the sun highlighting thousands of silky threads in the sky.  Spider webs with their eggs, carried in the breeze over the forest—a spectacular sight.

A few minutes more and the trunk of a gigantic sequoia comes into view.  This is the famous Grizzly Giant, the largest tree in the park.  The Grizzly Giant’s age is estimated at 2700 years; it stands 210 feet tall, 29 feet in diameter at the base of its trunk.  The great tree is leaning—one of these days, or hundreds of years from now, it will topple.  The mighty tree will then decompose over centuries, nourishing the forest in death, as it had graced the forest in life.

To view more photos of Yosemite's might sequoias, click here:

Follow these links to Yosemite: and

Want to see the Grizzly Giant?  Go to:

Cane River Country and Melrose Plantation, Louisiana

         Fog shrouds the town of Natchitoches this early March morning.  Breakfast was served at 8:30 and I met the six other guests of the Judge Porter House.  The guests included a couple from Jackson, MS and a couple from Texas, both here to tour plantations, and two women—one from Baton Rouge and the other from San Antonio—long-time friends who are meeting here to share a relaxing weekend.  They all seemed surprised to hear that I was here alone from Utah.
         Breakfast offered a true taste of Southern hospitality—eggs and ham on a biscuit, cheese grits, apple crisp, coffee and juice.  After breakfast I hopped into the car and drove south along the Cane River Road to visit the famous Natchitoches Parish Plantations.  The Cane River community of the early 1800’s stretched for 19 miles along the river in central Louisiana; here Creole French farmers, free people of color, and slaves coexisted, mostly peaceably, in antebellum America.  The excellent historical novel “Cane River” by Lalita Tademy explores the complex lives of the peoples of Cane River.

When touring plantations a trip to Melrose should be at the top of anyone’s list.  It was the highlight of the day.  The history of Melrose is a fascinating story of many people and events.  The story starts with Marie Therese Coincoin.  Born a slave, she eventually married a French merchant named Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer and attained freedom and prosperity for herself and her 14 children.  Between 1794 and 1803 Coincoin and her sons received a number of land grants and hired slaves of their own; the Metoyers soon became one of the wealthiest families of color in the nation. 

Melrose Plantation.

         By the late 1800’s the property had been sold to Cammie Henry and she transformed the plantation into a haven for artists and writers.  One of the more interesting artist stories involves Clementine Hunter, a black women who worked as a field hand and a cook for the family.  She discovered palettes of discarded paints and began painting on her own.  In bright primitive style, Miss Clementine’s paintings are a record of real people and their lives along the banks of the Cane River.  She painted all four walls of one of the out-buildings on the plantation.  The building is preserved as a national landmark and Clementine Hunter’s paintings are now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
The two-hour tour of Melrose was well worth the $7.00 price of admission and included the “Africa House”, home of Clementine Hunter’s wall mural.  One of the people in our group noticed that in Clementine’s paintings the men were almost always smaller than the women.  Our guide explained that Miss Clementine did not like men and the more she disliked a certain man, the smaller he got.  Unconventional, evocative, dramatic—Clementine Hunter’s paintings are an inspiration.

Clementine Hunter's Inspirational Paintings.
Two Cane River plantations recently became part of the National Park Service—Oakland and Magnolia Plantations.  Oakland is one of the most complete plantations in existence; many of the original buildings and outbuildings are still standing.  A giant pecan tree stands sentinel outside the kitchen and many live oaks grace the property as well.  Once again I was impressed with the variety of bird life in the old trees on these undisturbed properties.  When I asked about the birds the park ranger informed me that a local Audubon group held a bird count at Oakland Plantation last month. The Park Service, however, does not consider the monitoring of wildlife to be a prime directive for these sites.  That’s too bad, but at least birds and other wildlife will be able to live here indefinitely, protected from the ravages of further development.
By late afternoon I was back in Natchitoches and decided to have dinner at The Landing Restaurant on historic Riverfront Street.  My delectable dinner consisted of crab cakes with creamy seafood sauce, crisp salad, sweet potato fries and iced tea, followed by coffee and Bourbon Street pecan pie a’ la mode.  And all that for only $35.00.  A satisfying end to a delightful day of plantation touring in Louisiana. 

Other sites of interest for the Natchitoches area are: and
The plantations of Natchez, Mississippi are also worth a visit.  See my blog report:

San Francisco and Sonoma County

          I’m meeting my twin sister, Diane, and friends Tina and Kenton for a weekend get-away to San Francisco.  We’re staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf Hilton, a pleasant hotel in a central location.  On our second morning we awaken to a clear, blue-sky April day.  We meet in the lobby and walk a block and a half to Pat’s Cafe—we had seen it while riding the cable car yesterday and all thought it looked “cute”.  We arrive as the cafe opens at 7:00 a.m and help the waiter carry the outdoor tables to the sidewalk.  Our breakfasts at Pat’s don’t disappoint - wonderful food served in a relaxing atmosphere.  From Pat’s we walk back to the Hilton and pack for our day trip to Sonoma Valley Wine Country.

Leaving San Francisco we stop at the view area for the Golden Gate Bridge and are treated to spectacular views of Golden Gate Park, spring flowers bursting with blooms of every color.  A large group of cyclists is assembled, ready for a morning ride across the bridge.
We cross the bridge by car, not bicycle, and soon enter the rural farm valley of Sonoma.  On our schedule today are three wineries.  The first winery, Ledson, showcases a tasting room in a giant castle.  We enjoy the tasting, then stop for lunch in Ledson’s marketplace.   
Ledson Winery, Sonoma Wine Country, California.
         From Ledson’s we drive a short distance to the St. Francis Winery.  Having had our fill of wine we opt out of the tasting and walk the grounds.  We all favored the St. Francis Winery, with its Spanish architecture and pleasing gardens.  But I’m sure the owners of St. Francis would have preferred if, rather than admire their grounds,  we’d have tried their wines.
   A longer drive leads to the Matanzas Creek Winery and Lavender farm.  The drive through rolling countryside reminds us of the farm country in our home state of Pennsylvania.   Matanzas Creek is a modern winery, it’s tasting building set among giant California Live Oaks.  We walk from the tasting room to the one acre lavender garden.  This one acre of lavender yields millions of stems—a labor-intensive crop.

Our winery tours finished for the day, we drive south to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The overlook on top a steep, winding road affords panoramic views across the bay and to the gleaming city on the hill. 
We choose the Spinnaker Restaurant in Sausalito for dinner—a round restaurant built on stilts in the bay.  From this restaurant’s windows you can see all of San Francisco, the green and golden hills to the north and Sausalito’s harbors.   Sailboats cruise by the windows as we enjoy tasty seafood meals while savoring the view.  Two negatives to dinner at the Spinnaker: 1) 1970’s disco music playing and, 2) our weird waiter—a nervous, hyper type of guy.  As we were looking at our menu’s he remarked: “OK, lets get the ball rolling!”  I think he's in the wrong job.

After dinner we walk into downtown Sausalito.  The upscale shops are all closed but we do find an ice cream shop—Lappert’s Ice Cream—home of the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  
Tomorrow morning we’ll leave this city after two satisfying days sampling a mere taste of all that San Francisco has to offer, our appetites whetted for future trips to the city by the bay.

For information on Sonoma Wine Country see:
Interested in visiting San Francisco?  Find out about it here:

Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials

          It’s mid-September and I’m on my way to Meeker, Colorado for the Meeker Classic - a sheepdog trial event with 120 competitors from all over the United States and Canada.  I arrived at 8:00a.m. and couldn’t find the event.  I stopped in at the Blue Spruce Lodge to ask for directions and was told the Meeker Classic is held in a big field on the west end of town.  “Big field” is an accurate term - the event takes place on a quarter mile rolling hill at the base of a rock wall.  Early morning clouds gave way to clearing skies and I settled in on the bleachers to watch the trials.  I thoroughly enjoyed this event!  

          Here's how the action unfolds:
Picture a very large baseball field - the border collie handler stands at a post that represents home plate.  He sends his dog out to the edge of the field - deep to the wall in center field -  to collect a group of five sheep and bring them back through a gate at second base then around behind the handler and through a gate at third base, across the field again and through a gate at first base and finally back to the infield where the sheep are collected and ultimately herded into a pen near the third base dugout.  All of this is to be accomplished in 11 minutes.  I watched 7 or 8 trials and didn’t see anyone complete the course.  In the outfield are two cowboys on horseback.  They keep the sheep out there until the dogs come to get them.  After a trial is over a trained border collie runs onto the course and collects the sheep to be loaded into a trailer and taken back to the edge of the field.  Many different groups of sheep are used and several outfits of cowboys patrol the field. 
A Sheepdog Handler Shouts Instructions to her Dog
Also at the Meeker Classic is the Mason’s Pancake Breakfast.  I devoured the pancake, sausage and egg breakfast and it was very good, rivaling the Lions Club Breakfast in Price, Utah.  I stopped in the art barn and viewed colorful paintings of sheep herding - all for sale via silent auction.  A craft tent filled with artisan offerings provided a break from the herding action.  I bought a wool blanket and pillow, made with Colorado wool.  A border collie rescue group hosts a stand at the event and several border collie organizations are there as well, selling all-things border collie.  
         During the lunch break a behavioral geneticist talked about his study to determine why border collies are driven to engage in herding behavior and the implications this may have for understanding human mental illnesses.  Also on the lunch break we heard a Scottish bagpipe player and the theme song for the 2010 Meeker Classic.  The rescue group brought out a few of their border collies and a local border collie owner, Elaine, and her dog “Ben” provided a sheep herding demonstration.  

The Meeker Classic is an entertaining event - not too crowded, plenty of seating and you are close to the action and to the dogs.  I was told that the Heber (Utah) sheepdog classic draws 25,000 people.  No thanks, I’d rather go to the Meeker Classic - there were probably less than a thousand people here by afternoon.  I’m already looking forward to attending the event next year.

For more information on sheepdog trials check out the international sheepdog society at:
Travel info for Meeker and the White River Valley may be found by visiting:

Yellowstone in Winter

          My husband and I are in the lone car arriving at Yellowstone National Park’s north entrance on this February afternoon.  We stop at the visitor center and are told there are wolves at Tower Junction, 20 miles down the road.  So that’s where we’re headed today.
At Tower Junction we found people with spotting scopes; they pointed to a female wolf lying in the snow on a far ridge.  We set up our scope and focused on her.  Her coat, a mixture of tawny and gray, shimmered in the afternoon light.   She was gorgeous.  We watched her for awhile; she got up, trotted down the hill and lay down again.  Then she opened her mouth to let out a mournful howl.  The sound was primal and haunting, one of those classic sounds of the wild.  It was a wonderful moment.  My first ever sighting of a Yellowstone wolf and only the second wolf I’ve seen in the wild.  It’s wonderful that wolves have reclaimed Yellowstone as their own—a wildlife success story.

After the wolf sighting we drove up the road to a pullout where more people were focusing binoculars on a distant tree.  We took a look and saw a giant golden eagle perched at the top of a dead tree high on a ridgeline.  The eagle must be surveying its kingdom, perhaps looking to get a taste of a recent wolf kill.  On the way back to the park entrance we photographed elk and bison and saw three coyotes lounging in the snow along the road.  This has been a great day for wildlife-spotting, as it always is during winter in Yellowstone.

The following morning we ate a quick breakfast and then suited up in our cross country gear for today’s outing to the Indian Creek Trailhead.  We drove to Mammoth Terraces and transferred our gear into a Chevy Van fitted for snow travel.  The van is elevated and sits on four “mat tracks”, wide snow-grabbing chains that convert the van into a snowmobile-like machine.
Our van driver, Dave, has lived and worked in Yellowstone for 17 years as the principal of the Mammoth Hot Springs Elementary School and as a teacher.  Also a naturalist, Dave conducts tours of Yellowstone during the busy summer season.  He has sad news:  Mammoth Hot Springs Elementary, a federally operated school, closed this year due to lack of students after having been in existence for 130 years.
Dave pointed out geologic features along our 12 mile ride to Indian Creek, including a series of travertine rocks which had broken off and tumbled from a mountain to the south of us.  Dave dropped us off by a warming hut near Indian Creek Campground, started a fire in the hut, then drove off in his snow machine.  Now Tim and I are alone in this section of Yellowstone National Park, 12 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs.  Can you imagine?  Our own private slice of Yellowstone.
Indian Creek Campground Cross-Country Ski Area.
We started skiing the groomed trails around the closed campground, then ventured onto two-track trails through the woods.   The sky is azure blue, the air still, the park unbelievably quiet on this pristine day.  The quiet was interrupted by coyotes howling.  Several times they started their howls and yips, their voices echoing across the valley.  Returning to the warming hut we noticed a huge male bison relaxing in the snow.  We were sure not to disturb him.
        The weather has improved since our arrival at Indian Creek; this morning’s temperature registered 11 degrees and now it’s a balmy 23, mild enough to sit on the picnic table outside the warming hut and wait for our ride.  Dave appeared at the scheduled time and drove us back to Mammoth Terraces and civilization. During the drive Dave asked why we don’t come to Yellowstone during the summer and we replied that it’s too crowded for us.  He then informed us that by walking 100 yards from the main roads we could leave the crowds well behind.  According to Dave, most of the people who come to the park spend their time in the bathrooms and in the gift shops.  
Perhaps we’ll take Dave’s advice, return one summer’s day, venture off the roads and disappear into the magic that is Yellowstone National Park.

To learn more about Yellowstone's wolves go to:
Books about Yellowstone:
For more information about Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone area visit:  and

Dewey the Library Cat

         I’m in Spencer, Iowa this morning on the first day of a solo “Discover Iowa” trip.  My first stop today is the Spencer Library, home of “Dewey” the famous library cat and subject of a best-selling book.

This is Dewey’s story:  An unknown person placed the tiny kitten in the book drop of the Spencer Library and he was found on the bitterly cold morning of January 18, 1986 by head librarian, Vicky Myron.  The little kitten appeared bedraggled, cold and hungry but otherwise unharmed.  He was kept in the library for a few days before Vicki decided to make the library his permanent home.  The town council, along with a few citizens of Spencer, objected strenuously to this plan.  But most people seemed to like the idea of a library mascot and finally the town council gave in.  The library had a naming contest and chose the name of “Dewey Readmore Books”.  Dewey became a favorite, living at the library for 18 years, greeting people and comforting them, getting into kitty mischief at times too.  Dewey’s death in 2006 was a major event in this town.  He is buried in front of the library, a commemorative plaque placed on his grave.  After Dewey died the town commissioned an artist to create a town tile mosaic; the mosaic is in the town park, complete with a tile rendering of Dewey lying on top of a library book.  

"Dewey'" Immortalized in Tile.
I’m a cat lover and so here I am on my way to the library.  In the Spencer library I meet Jan, the librarian.  Vicky, the author of “Dewey”, has retired.  Jan shows me the book drop—the place of Dewey’s discovery—in the back of the library.  The library is hosting a special Dewey exhibit this month and I notice a display case filled with Dewey items.  There are copies of the Dewey book in 14 different languages, Dewey sweatshirts, pillows and jewelry —you get the idea. 

A few of the "Dewey" items on display in the Spencer Public Library.

         Last week a screenwriter was here, gathering information for her rendition of “Dewey”, the movie. Yes, a movie is in the making and the screenwriters wish to cast Meryl Streep as the librarian.   But not everyone in town is happy with all the fuss over Dewey.  An older man was picking up copies while I was in the library.  When he heard me mention Dewey he launched into a rant about people overrunning the town and making trouble, and all because of “that damn book”.  “Just wait until the movie comes out”, he grumbled, “then things will really be crazy around here.”  
Uh oh, seems I’m one of those people overrunning the town.  Actually, I might feel the same way if this was my hometown.  But this town is already located near a tourist area—that of the Iowa Great Lakes—so hopefully a few more Dewey fans won’t make much of a difference.
         I have my picture taken with Dewey’s statue and visit his gravesite.  And then I leave the town of Spencer, continuing on to discover more of Iowa’s hidden treasures.

Dewey's portrait.
Vickie Myron had Dewey photographed on a whim, long before she had thoughts of writing a book.  That decision probably helped the book become a best-seller; this compelling portrait is on the cover.

Memorial plaque at Dewey's gravesite.

         To read more about "Dewey" go to:
For Iowa travel information visit:

Oregon's Coast: Cape Lookout State Park and The Channel House Inn

        This post was originally published in March of 2011.  I'm adding additional pictures with this re-publication.  As always, click on a picture to enlarge.   

         If you’re planning a trip to the Oregon Coast, then The Channel House Inn in Depoe Bay is the place to stay.  A luxury Inn, the Channel House is perched at water’s edge.  Jacuzzi tubs on the balconies offer bird’s eye views across the Pacific.

With private balconies like this,
you could check in and never leave.

         Tim and I are here on December 16th, celebrating our wedding anniversary.  After breakfast this morning we leave The Channel House and drive north on Highway 101 to today's destination—Cape Lookout State Park between the towns of Pacific City and Tillamook.

Table for two in the breakfast room at The Channel House.  
We arrive at the State Park, find the trailhead for Cape Lookout Trail and enter the forest.  A stiff breeze blows from the south and the cedar and spruce boughs sway and creak.  The forest here is primeval; at any second one expects an ogre to jump out from behind the moss-covered trees.  When the trail breaks out from the forest we're treated to commanding views of the seacoast.  The 2.4 mile trail switch-backs through the woods, hugs steep cliffs and skirts coves churning with waves.  Trail’s end appears on a point high above the sea; a conveniently located bench beckons and we heed its call, relaxing while we scan the sea with binoculars and snap a few photos.  Blissful solitude accompanied us on the trail today—we encountered only four other people on our three hour walk.

Ocean View from Cape Lookout Trail.

Trail through the forest in Cape Lookout State Park.

  Back at The Channel House we fill the jacuzzi tub and soak our sore muscles. Ahhhh, It's nice to relax in the tub while the last light of day filters through the clouds.  Boats ply the open ocean this afternoon but we don't spot any seals or whales.  We’re told there is a resident population of 50 gray whales in the Depoe Bay area, but they spend their winters far off-shore.
We do see wildlife however, in the form of a California Gull visiting our deck.  He appeared this morning on the rail of the deck outside the kitchen/living area of our suite and now, here he is again on the deck rail by the tub.  We’ve affectionately nicknamed him “Orey”.  “Orey” I say, “someone’s been feeding you from this suite, haven’t they?”  (Hey, wait a minute... why does Tim look so guilty?)

"Orey" Waits for a Handout.
         Our anniversary dinner reservations this evening are for Restaurant Beck in the Whale Cove Inn.  The Whale Cove Inn is located at the south end of Depoe Bay.  It’s a stunning location—waterfront views from a new and nicely appointed dining room.  Our waiter shows us to our table by the window and tells us we have the only reservations for dinner tonight.

         We inquire about the bright lights moving across the ocean’s horizon and the waiter informs us that those are the lights of crabbing boats.  The Dungeness crab season lasts for only two months and in that time these crabbers will harvest 45 million dollars worth of crabs.  The boats are out there 24/7, their gleaming yellow lights announcing each boat’s position in the sea. 
         After hearing that story I had to try the Dungness crab entree.  Exquisite—a  perfect ending to a perfect day along the Oregon Coast.

Interested in visiting the Channel House?  Visit

For more information on Oregon State Parks go to:

Reflections on solitude.

The Oregon Coast on a December's Day.

Redcloud Peak in Colorado's San Juan Mountains

         On a chilly September morning in Lake City, Colorado my husband and I prepared for our day’s hike to the 14,034’ summit of RedCloud Peak.  We downed protein shakes and pumpkin bread, shook off the sleep, grabbed daypacks and left our cabin at 6:00 a.m. as the sky lightened.  Clouds loomed on the horizon; hopefully they’ll burn off and we’ll have another blue-sky autumn day. 

We arrived at the Silver Creek Trailhead at 7:00 and started on the trail through a stately spruce, fir and aspen forest.  The sun rose over the peaks behind us and we turned around to glimpse snow-capped and red-tinted peaks glowing in dawn’s first light.  The trail exited the forest and climbed along Silver Creek, named for the strange silvery/white shimmer of its water.  The creek looks inviting but the tint indicates a creek filled with minerals and devoid of life.
It seemed the trail would never emerge from this valley but finally we broke away from the creek and into patches of sunshine.   9:00 a.m.—a good time for a break.  We stopped directly across from RedCloud Peak, still two miles and 2000 vertical feet above us.  After our short break we soldiered on through an open meadow to a saddle between ridges.  Sweeping views from the saddle and across the valley to the north revealed smaller mountains and aspen covered hills.

Looking back toward the trailhead
on a cold September morning.

          From this saddle at 13,000 feet it's another 1034 vertical feet and a mile to the summit.  We began a steep climb and discovered the trail now covered with snow and ice—not too bad going up but it could be troublesome coming down.  The sun that had warmed us during our break was now obscured by high, thin clouds.  Winds howled and temperatures dropped.  My pace slowed and I labored with each breath until I stopped—halfway up the steep trail and 500 vertical feet shy of the summit.  With conditions on the mountain now brutally cold and windy, I decided to go no further.

Picking my way
along the snow and ice-covered rocks
above 13,000 feet.

Climb Every Mountain

         I told Tim to go for the summit anyway, that I’d wait here, on the edge of this switchback in the trail. I donned windpants and sat on Tim’s poncho; I zipped into my down vest and used Tim’s down vest to cover my legs.  I was still cold.  Tim continued on and left his pack by my side, taking only a windbreaker, a granola bar and his camera.
I settled in, enjoying the 360 degree views but shivering persistently.  Ten minutes later Tim came back.  He was worried about me and with dark clouds building, winds blowing, and snow covering the trail, he wasn’t too keen on summiting by himself.  Tim sat down with me, we ate part of our lunch, then turned around for the descent. 

         Downclimbing proved treacherous, worse than coming up.  Picking our way down over ice and snow, with sore knees and feet, was more difficult than not being able to breathe on the way up.  We spent an hour traversing that half mile stretch to reach the saddle, then sat down to take a break and finish our lunch.  Tim changed his socks and shook the gravel out of his shoes.  The cold is relentless; neither of us could feel our fingers when we took our gloves off to eat.  I had a hard time with my zippers and buckles too.  Tim said this is the coldest he cares to be when hiking.  Actually I think I could have withstood the cold if not for the wind.  Temperatures on the mountain are 25 degrees - not too hard to take—but with the wind it felt much colder.

Tim on the trail; this lower elevation section of the hike
(12,000-13,000 feet) is free of snow.

        We continued our descent.  I felt pretty good except for sore shoulders from my pack and a sore right knee.  Tim had sore feet, and a sore back from wrenching it during a fall on the ice above the saddle.  But otherwise we were doing OK.  Every time we descend one of these mountains going down, down, down I’m amazed that we managed to climb so high in the first place.

         As we entered the spruce forest the sun peaked from behind the clouds.  Perhaps the weather would have held for a summit bid after all.  Ah well, Redcloud Peak will still be here next September and we’ll have to climb this peak another time - when temperatures are warmer, when the trail harbors no snow and ice.  Until then.....