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It's another early wake up call and today I'm headed, once again, to Hallett Peak. But I'm just a touch more excited today because I have some of my favorite people in the entire world on board for what will most definitely be a memorable day on one of my favorite mountains. I sneak quietly into the living room where my sisters are crashed out. I get the pot ready, light the fuse and drop the black cats in. Hahaha...wake up suckers, it's time to climb! About this time, my mom stumbles through the back door just having come down from her cabin.

I make some final preperations, make sure everyone is well packed up, fueled up, geared up and ready to roll. We hit the road in the early morning darkness headed for Bear Lake. 30 minutes later, with a brighetning sky, we are hiking up the Flattop Mountain Trail. A couple of years ago all made a trek up Mt. Chapin in the Mummy Range and I got the fam hooked. So, today we were going to kick it up a notch and they were going to have to work a little harder to get to a summit. I knew everyone would do fine and they did. My mom rocked and rolled up the trail and Angela really suprised me as she and Tiffany left me and mom in the dust.

We were nearing the odessa lake junction when alpenglow began to light up the east side of the divide. This powerful display of natures beauty seemed to energize everyone and we made great time up the trail. We wound back and fourth up the swithcbacks through the dense forrest and before too long we were all taking a breather at the Dream Lake Overlook. Soaking in the beauty of this breathtaking place, we all mentioned how great this was to be doing this together. While I love hiking and peak bagging all by my lonesome, it's just that much sweeter to be doing it with family...nothing like it! I love seeing the expressions on their faces and hear their excited and admiring comments of their surroundings, those of which I have experienced so many times and so many ways before.

Onward and upward! We were back on the trail and on the lookout for marmots. Angela had to see a marmot or I was going to get it because I promised here there would be some along the way. Angela used to have a pet marmot named Coletrain who happened to meet an unfortunate demise at the hands of a certain mexican policia with a bad hangover, a handfull of throwing stars, and a short temper when it came to insolent alpine rock dwellers of any kind. Poor old Coletrain.

The day was beautiful and the girls took advantage of their strong legs while mom and I took out time and hung out in the rear. We'd hike for 20 minutes or so, then stop for a snack/drink break, then get back at it. Soon enough, we were nearing the Emerald Lake Overlook and I saw Tiffany getting up off of the ground with Angela laughing her head off just ahead. Tiff had been strolling along with her hands in her pockets when the front of her foot caught a rock and she went flying forward. She couldn't get her hands out of her pockets in time so she landed, full force, on her elbows...ouch! But she laughed it off and we were soon on our way. Thankfully, as we came up over a rise, there he was. On top of a rock in all of his fat furry glory...a marmot! Angela whipped out the camera and got some shots as Tiffany tried to put it in her backpack. It bit her ear lobe off and spit it at Angela. We left him alone and continued on.

We made quick work of the final push to Flattop's summit and had our eyes set on Hallett, just a half mile away. Ange and Tiff blew on ahead while mom and I gingerly made out way up the steppening slope after a quick look down into Tyndall Gorge. We wound our way up the footpath on the upper slopes of Hallett watching the girls get smaller and smaller as they got ahead of us. Soon, we could see them with their arms up in the air on top of the mountain! We were close, but the air is thinner up here so we took our time and enjoyed the climb. Before too long, we topped out on one of the greatest summits in the park.

I was, once again, so proud of everyone...they did it in style. Especially Angela, making it seem like a stroll through the park (which I guess it was!). We had some snacks, spent a few minutes soaking it all in, then began our descent. Once again Angela and Tiffany blew on ahead and we didn't see them again until the trailhead. But mom and I got to spend some good quality time together that we just never get to do anymore and it was great!.

It was also entertaining watching my mothers falling technique! She kind floats like a falling leaf back to earth. First she tips to the left, then to the right...whoaaa, I got it...nope...back to the left...almost...not ..gonna...falll...ahhh...back to the right...now forward, now backwards...and there it is...PLOP, right on her rear! Mom...be careful...you're gonna break a hip!

I can't wait until next summer for another family outing!


     
  until next time...
     
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