We awoke by 8 AM and started getting our gear ready to get us into the Core Zone, which is home to a plethora of lakes and jaw-dropping views.
It was going well… until I sliced open my foot.
Walking to get my food bag, which we had all stashed away from camp, my flip flop caught on a stump/root, leaving my foot unprotected for the ensuing carnage. A string of expletives followed, which got everyone’s attention in camp as I hopped back, still hurling a barrage of expletives towards the heavens.
Adam, oh god bless Adam, is a trained EMT, so he rushed to the scene and helped get things under control. The wound wasn’t so deep as large – maybe quarter-sized – on my left foot below my third and fourth toes. You know, right where you push off when you walk.
Once my injury was cleaned and wrapped, the six of us – Sophie stayed back for a bit of R&R – headed for the Core.
It. Was. Strenuous.
While the distance wasn’t too bad, probably a mile and a half, the elevation gain was serious. There was also some nice scrambling action, which made it interesting with our packs (and even more interesting the next day) with our full packs.
While we were huffing and puffing, the views also took away our breath. The rate of our incline was so much that we were staring down at the lake we were calling home in no time, and it was minuscule.
As we were climbing, no one knew what to expect.
I had spent all my time scouting out peaks to climb and had pretty much ignored the things we’d be walking right next to. I guess it made for an even better surprise when we reached the Core and stumbled upon Lake Viviane.
A deep, dark blue like Lake Tahoe, Lake Viviane is a classic alpine lake surrounded by towering granite walls that turned into daunting jagged peaks over a thousand feet above.
The group wasted no time using the great weather and beautiful lake. Everyone but Amanda hopped in. (She was also battling some wounds she didn’t want to get wet.)
After experiencing specific body parts make their way into our stomachs, we strapped back up and headed further into the Core.
The goal, McClelland Peak.
Not easy by any stretch but very manageable, this has a Class 3 Scramble to it, meaning no ropes are needed, but there’s some more effort asked for than just hiking.
We, sadly, never reached it.
We couldn’t find an exact route (though we, later on, believe we found it), and a lot of the party didn’t feel comfortable climbing with it already being 2 PM.
Instead, Ben, Sean, and I scampered up a few hundred feet to give us a view of looking down on Leprechaun Lake. It was stunning.
As we returned, retreating the exact steps we took on the way in, we came up mountain goats, laying out for an afternoon slumber. These things know no predator as they don’t even flinch as we walked by – or in Adam’s case, goes full paparazzi on it. (He’d spend 20 minutes later that night going through his camera, deleting the endless number of duplicate photos he took of the one goat.)
Besides the goat, the way down was almost uneventful, but Sean got stung by a bee less than a mile from camp. Fortunately, he’s not allergic, so it was a minor blip on a fantastic day.
At camp, we all jumped back in the water – well, I hobbled in as my foot was now aching after a long day of pounding.
For dinner, we again ate lots and lots of food, knowing that the way up would be much more enjoyable with less weight holding us down.
The seven of us retired to our tents early, knowing we’d have an early start and about six miles of the Core to conquer.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out!