I succeeded in traversing the rocky ridge above Weaver Lake, saving much elevation loss and gain and taking in some nice views, but my dogs' paws got torn up in the process...no doggy booties and not enough recent training hikes in similar conditions. I had to slowly coax, drag, and carry the dogs back on the regular route without attempting to reach the summit...it was a long slow process, and quite a challenge carrying a 95 lb. yellow lab over some rocky stretches. Lesson learned. I'm not sure if the ridge traverse will save much effort and time when I go back to reach the summit someday, but it did make for an interesting loop.
Awesome hike from Weaver Lake. It is har to believe this stuff is so close to Weaverville and Trinity Lake!