Lake Isabelle. I never tire of that view.
The hike up to the lake is pretty easy, it's only 2 miles with not quite 400' of elevation gain. The only hard part is that the lake is at 10,868' so the air is a bit thin but that mostly doesn't bother me. It takes a little under an hour to get to the lake.
Strum doesn't seem to mind either.
After a snack and some moments of whimsy at the lake we continued up towards Pawnee Pass. My goal wasn't the pass itself but rather an alpine bench at 11,800' that flattens out just below the start of the steep rocky ascent to the pass. It's maybe another 2-2 1/4 miles and another hour or so of hiking.
After you leave the lake you climb through a beautiful area of wildflowers and a some small falls and streams.
After many stream crossings the trail gets steeper, rockier and more exposed. There are a series of steep rocky switchbacks with sharp drop-offs in places. I'm fine as long as I don't look down and Strummer doesn't try to pull me down the side of the mountain in search of pika poop.
We ran into an angry marmot on one of the switchbacks. He had some loud, harsh words for us, so loud he hurt my ears. I'm not sure if he was chasing us out of his territory or voicing his opinion on USDAA's 22" weave poles.
There are lots of nice views as you huff your way up the steep switchbacks.
Phew, we made it. Hiking up to 11,800' is serious business.
Some views from the bench.
The pointy cone to the left of the glacier is Navajo Peak. Don't know the name of any others.
We stopped for some water and more moments of whimsy then headed back down. After Lake Isabelle we had the trail to ourselves on the way up and only ran into 2-3 people on the way down. It got more crowded from Lake Isabelle back to the car but still not too bad, especially compared to the weekend which is a mob scene at that time of day.
All in all a fantabulous day. And to top it off I came home and called the city about a $580 bill I received for failure to file city taxes even though I don't owe city taxes and never received a form from the city. Somehow this is a $500 fine plus a $50 penalty plus $30 interest. I'm not sure what the difference is between a fine and a penalty or how I can owe interest on money I don't owe. But I was having many heart attacks and aneurisms when I opened that envelope over the weekend. In the end when I called they told me all I had to do was write on the letter that I don't owe taxes and mail it back and I don't have to pay anything. SUCH a big sigh of relief and my heart rate returned to normal. I asked them where to get a form to file in the future and they said the city sends them out at the end of the year and they had no explanation as to why I never received one. Sheesh. Anyway, that was icing on the cake of a perfect day.