Thursday, July 21, 2011

Granite Mountain Lookout Run (8479')

First trip of the year into the high-country north of Goose Lake.  Granite fit the bill for today perfectly: short, scenic, steep and with a summit.   I will come back to this one many times as a time-trial for rugged and rocky trail. 

The North Face of Granite.  Still wearing plenty of white.  The climb takes place mostly on the East Ridge and only hits patches of snow near the corniced ridgeline.  This gorgeous meadow is near the trailhead and has an old cabin and corral.

My new Transylvanian friends, Todd and Andy.  Americans, based in Romania, these globe-trotters gobble up mountain terrain.  They might be the fastest hikers I've ever seen.  Very cool to meet authentic mountain people.  After my taking a wrong turn lower on the mountain, they beat me to the summit by good margin. 

The corniced summit ridge.  Some of these waves overhang 10 feet or more.  On the way down, I encountered 2 hikers taking a picture while standing past the breakline of the cornice.  Scary.  The fire Lookout can be seen ahead.

Old Glory welcomed me to one of the coolest Lookouts I have ever visited.  The 360 degree view reminded me why I live in Idaho.  I chatted with Caretaker Les for 45 minutes spotting landmarks and other mountain man kinda stuff.  A cool breeze blew and I had to get on my way.  By the way, The Needles, California is still the best lookout. 

I did some trail work on the way down, clarifying when to turn uphill with cairns and logs. It took me 3 times to get it right on the way up and a few extra miles of running, but the correct path is obvious now.  Next time I will visit the nearby Twin Lakes- a 1 mile detour just east of the peak.

I found a pretty good stash of firewood just north of the trailhead and cut wood all day before returning home exhausted.  

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