I'm really not going to say too much
about this hike. It was one of the most memorable I have been on.
There was a lot of wildlife(coyotes, elk, sheep), a lot of flowers,
very few people, and not a cloud in the sky the entire day.
I was only going to summit Mt. Ida
(12,880 ft), but when I got there, the weather was just too perfect
not to keep going. So I went down the other side of Ida and up Chief
Cheley Peak (12,804 ft). This mountain is wonderful. Nice summit
and wonderful views of the Gorge Lakes. The weather stayed perfect
so I went on to Cracktop Mountain (12,760 ft). This is another great
mountain with even better views of the Gorge Lakes. The most notable
feature of this mountain is the giant crack down the middle (hence
the name). It is much larger than I expected. I was going to go
on to Mount Julian, but since I didn't pack a single thing to eat,
I was starting to get a little fatigued.
I did want to check out the famous
"knife ridge" between Cracktop and Julian, so I explored
that area for a while. If you have heard that this is a very exposed
ridge, you heard right. Some of this ridge made me feel a bit uneasy,
but if I had had a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
and a granola bar or two with me, I would have taken a lunch break
and continued on. This wasn't the case, so I headed back over the
three previous mountains toward the trailhead. It was an uneventful
walk back, and I only saw two people on the entire trail.
This is an area I would love to visit
again before the summer is through. Next time I'll pack some food
and plan for a longer day.