A Week in the Rockies, Day 7, Bald Hills

5:34 p.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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After much debate the night before, we decided to do Bald Hills instead of Verdant Pass. One factor was the prospect of rain - nobody wanted to try the more difficult trail under bad conditions. Opal Summit was another possibility, but there's a bear warning posted there again - same mama griz with two more cubs.

I've done the Bald Hills a dozen times, but it's still one of my favourite hikes. Starts with the boring slog up the old fire road, where we met an absolutely tame mule deer, and tops out at the old fire lookout. t310889.jpg t310890.jpg t310891.jpg It turned out that the problem wasn't the rain, but a dropping clould cover that threatened to sock us in. t310892.jpg Instead of trying for the farther summit right away, we climbed straight up from the lookout on a slippery slope to the plateau. On top, the trail fades away on the rocks, and I took advantage of a pause to knock down a few phony tourist cairns and inukshuks, and put up ones that actually marked the proper route. That paid off later when we came back down in a dense fog.t310893.jpg t310894.jpg t310895.jpg t310896.jpg t310897.jpg t310898.jpg t310899.jpg t310900.jpg t310901.jpg We approached from the north end and did the set of small peaks at that end, but the clouds rolled in before we could attack the last one. Route finding would have been a problem, not following the well-trodden trail to the summit, but crossing the rocky slope down across the east side back to the lookout. t310902.jpg t310903.jpg t310904.jpg t310905.jpg t310906.jpg t310908.jpg t310914.jpg t310915.jpg t310916.jpg
Made it back down just fine. Because we didn't bag the last peak, I can only claim 670m elevation gain, but it was still better than sitting around waiting for the day to get better. Of course, by the time we made it back to the TH, the sun was starting to peep through!

December 19, 2014
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