After a short but solid sleep we woke up, packed up, and headed out to the Quandary Trailhead. Based on the rumors I'd heard about the popularity of this hike I was pleasantly surprised to find that the parking lot wasn't too busy. Perhaps the snowpack is still keeping people away.
We set out at a steady pace and quickly found ourselves above treeline where we saw our first of many mountain goats. (It's tough to say exactly how many we saw, but I would guess at least 20!) With a little less than a mile to go the mountain slope became steeper and the trail continued up an east facing ridge. The southface was made up of microwave sizes rocks and the north face was covered by a sheet of snow. We did our best to follow the trail as it wove back and forth between rock and snow.
As we crested the summit we were greeted by a strange variety of unexpected company. The first thing I noticed was that a small herd of mountain goats were hoarding the highest point to themselves as if to remind us humans who really owns this mountain. Touché goats. Well played.
The second thing I noticed was a lone teenager who was pointing his phone all over the place for an exorbitant amount of time. He starts talking to us about what time we left the trailhead and goes on to inform us that "There's full cell service up here, so I'm actually live streaming this!"
My friends and I exchange glances that silently say: "What has the world come to?" "Is this kid for real?" "Are you going to punch him or should I?"
Thankfully the goats have now vacated the high point and the three of us move to take it over, mostly to distance ourselves from this teenage goon. As we walk away I can here him talking to himself or maybe someone who is watching the stream, "Yeah, 14,000 feet. I don't know the exact number. Haha Yup! Those are mountain goats! It's a little windy, but not too cold."
On our own for a few moments we take in the view and I thank the wind for muffling my ears from the nonsensical rambling taking place a few yards over. I snap a few photos to capture this memory, but after our recent encounter, the act of pulling out my smartphone evokes more guilt in me than normal.
The kid leaves and is soon replaced by a party of 4 people, two of which are apparently marrying one another a top of the mountain! We watch from afar as to not intrude. It is beautiful and simple and I admire their venue selection. Noah points out that a woman who appears to be the photographer is carrying a pistol at her hip. I'm a bit taken aback. This is the first time I've ever seen someone packing in the forest. I decide that this photographer probably isn't a regular visitor to mountain and didn't know any better.
We hike back down the mountain rapidly. The adventure has been fun, but I think everyone is anxious to return to Walden so that we can prepare for tomorrow's work.