|At the high point. That's Rocky Mountain Peak in the background|
|Katie on the way down to HQ Pass|
|Looking down toward HQ Pass|
|The black bear that crossed our path below HQ|
In Wayne Phillips' absence, Steve Taylor led ten of us on this 8.3 miles, 2,800 feet gainer from one Front iconic spot to another, including a 8,600 feet unnamed peak and a challenging off-trail ascent and descent.
Taylor's route went from Our Lake on a good, but slightly exposed ramp I've used on previous traverses. We didn't stop at the grassy saddle, opting instead for a leisurely lunch atop the unnamed limestone high point.
About half our group had never done this traverse and were thrilled by its challenge and the views of the lake and Big Baldy peak to the north and Rocky Mountain Peak to the south. I was particularly gratified that my cousin, Mary Irene McCartney, from Owatonna, MN did this hike. As a flatlander, she had never done an off-trail mountain-climb before.
I was disappointed that we failed to see any mountain goats at the lake or at the great basin below Rocky Mountain peak. However, we were treated to a black bear who crossed our trail and despite being in close proximity appeared to be oblivious to our presence as he turned over rocks looking for insects.
It's still incredibly green from all the moisture we've gotten this year and the skies were relatively clear, increasingly rare as we've had annual big fire seasons.
We could very clearly see to the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.