Friday, July 14, 2006
Trip to Haines, Entry #2
First, my sincere apologies for not writing in several days. It's the middle of the term and the workload has come down on me a bit severely this past week. Hopefully things will lighten up, but until they do, your kind forbearance is begged.
It was our first day in Haines, and we wanted to be back for dinner, so we only had three hours to hike up and down the 3.2 miles and the 3000 vertical feet to the south summit.
Three hours wasn't quite enough, but let me first point out to you the mystery of this sign, which says the Ripinsky trailhead is 3/4 of a mile to the right, at "PIPE GATE." Now, if a "pipe gate" is some thing I should know as a well-educated individual, feel free to chastize me, but I had never heard of one before. Turns out, it's a gate made out of a pipe. This might not seem like much of a mystery to you, but it stymied seven graduate students and a tenured professor, so make of that what you will.
You may be pitying me on account of the weather, worrying that my hard work to hike and my rare opportunity to be in this place were compromised by the lack of views and the wet weather. Not so, good friends; mist carries its own holiness.
The moisture kisses the skin as it kisses the lupines; it embraces the intruder and makes him part of the landscape.
Here you see me with Zoe, my hiking parter for the majority of the trip.
This is, perhaps, the time to mention that a prevalence of bear scat on the trail indicated that bears use the trail extensively for travel and forage; though all evidence of their presence seemed to date back to last summer, their footprint on the place still added a certain dread to the aforementioned holiness.
Zoe and I didn't make it to the top. Two hours' hiking put us perhaps about 1/4 mile and less then 500 vertical feet from the summit, but we had already overstayed the time, so we reluctantly turned back. I suspect her regret stemmed from the same place as mine: we didn't need to hit the peak for its own sake, but we wanted to steal a little more time in the clouds before having to float back to earth.
Almost out, we stopped at a bridge to collect stragglers and take photos. You've got Il Professore Mark Long in the foreground, then Evelina, followed by me, Zoe, and Charles.
Many thanks to Palmer for the bulk of the pictures in this entry. There's also one by Zoe.
There's still more to recount of Haines, though I'm nearly a week back. Fortunately, the week has been full of work, study, and other thoroughly unjournalable pursuits, so once I catch up on Haines, I'm up to date.