23 September, 2009

The Last Loop

It's late in the year: the leaves have changed and they're falling; it's colder during the days and close to - or just below - freezing at night; there's Termination Dust on the mountains; and we've had some serious frost on the windshields some mornings. Any day now, I expect there'll be snow on the ground when I wake up.

With all that in mind, when Billy said he wanted to make the trip up to Flattop and walk Blueberry Loop, we all thought it'd be best if that happens sooner, rather than later. I don't have the gear (nor the desire) to walk the Loop in the snow.

Just yesterday, we got Termination Dust (first sign of snow on the mountain tops - marks the "termination" of summer) on the mountains. I heard that we're supposed to have rain & snow tomorrow, but today is supposed to be mostly clear. So, if we're going to do it, we need to go today. The trail's at a higher elevation, there's no telling when it'll be covered in snow. We're going tonight.

Since we hadn't planned this yesterday, everyone had to get changed - work shoes just won't cut it for this trail - which means we got a late start. I've never done Blueberry in the dark. Or dusk. It was beautiful. The trail was a little wet from the previous day's rain, but not muddy; and the clouds at sunset made for some spectacular views. The view of Sleeping Lady was particularly stunning. She's always pretty, but tonight... with the clouds and the colors... it was especially gorgeous.

Nita and I walked the Loop while Todd, Billy, & Greg wandered off to find some caches (of course!), and we hooked back up at the parking lot. We walked 'round the shadowed side first, to end up on the sunset side at the end of the walk. The wind was cold - so I'm really glad I brought a hat, and could probably have done with a coat instead of a jacket (and *definitely* some thermals for my legs!) - and we saw flakes instead of rain towards the end of the walk.

It's the first time I've seen our city lights from this vantage. I doubt I'll be going up to do the Loop anymore this season. I'll have to wait for Spring to go again. But I'm glad I took the chance this time, to see the familiar landscape in a new (non-)light.

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