Fifth Day: May Lake and Mt. Hoffmann
Today the legs are somewhat tired but nonetheless good. Stella has sought out an
ostensibly easy route. We drive, drive, drive 60 miles into the high mountains.
The two kilometers from the parking lot to the lake seem to be climbing up a dry waterfall, or at least a gully
formed by overflow from the lake. Frank worries about his ankle, the same one he injured in the spring. We think we must be on the
wrong trail. Then, suddenly, there is May Lake.
and behind: Mount Hoffmann
The next hours are spent climbing and scrambling over large rough rocks, always higher, a short meadow in a narrow valley, then again scrambling.
The trail goes from marker (cairn) to marker; we must analyze every step.
Hunger makes us stop, to eat burritos, drink. Frank lies still; he breathes fast, gasping for air. The air is thin; we are at 10,000 feet.
We climb further and further through steep fields of giant rocks; a hundred steps at a time [more like 10--Ed.], then another break.
The higher we go, the thinner the air, the slower we get.
We stop. We do not climb the last hundred meters. Here it is wild and isolated, desolate yet full of beauty.
The wind whistles and howls. The view is astounding. (As we rest, senior citizens hike up and down past us with hiking poles).
Eventually we head down again, picking our way carefully among the boulders.
We are down again, by May Lake. It is the end of our vacation. Tomorrow we return to our cats.