The cabin at the lower summit was used for years by a Ranger who lived there in the summer and kept a horse in a nearby cleared pasture. Every day he rode to the upper summit to spot for forest fires. How’s that for an unusual job? The cabin was very small inside–not much bigger than my bathroom at home–and I opted to leave my pack there for the final assault to the upper summit which meant a half-a-mile climb up a 60 degree grade, through five+ feet of snow.
We were so tired by this time, having already hiked for five hours through treacherous, ever changing conditions, but we could see the summit and wanted it in the worst way, so we made the decision to go for it. (The last person to make the hike hadn’t. We could tell because his tracks ended at the cabin. But clearly, he hadn’t had snow shoes, and what had we lugged them all this way for, if not to make that ultimate peak? So we set out. And we made it.
The day was so clear and warm and beautiful! Such a change from the previous day at Bill Williams Mountain (which we could see in the distance)!Shoot, we could see all the way to the Grand Canyon from up there. It was amazing and gorgeous and breathtaking (and at 10,000 feet, breathtaking has a literal meaning, too). But since it was already 2PM, and we had a long trek down still ahead of us–and the promise of even more slippery slopes as the giant, diagonal drifts across the trail began to melt and give way–we took our pictures, savored our accomplish- ment, and began the long trek down. Just to give you a bit of perspective, that long snowy open area you see in the picture is just the trail to the cabin…there were still five hours down the mountainside to go before we reached the trailhead and our vehicle.