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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. It turned out that the problem wasn't the rain, but a dropping clould cover that threatened to sock us in. 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. 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.
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!