I needed some tune up hiking before I picked up my girl friend at DIA the next day because she has been training for a marathon. I decided that the easy approach (road) and apparently easy hike made the Evans Loop and good choice. The morning started off with some dark clouds and I was not so sure the hike was going to get finished. As I was heading down the last mile to the lot at Summit Lake I was seeing many marmots(?) running around on the road. As I was watching one little fellow escape off the road I heard a thunk. Crap. I look back and see three marmots, one running off the road, one looking back, and another laying dead. Crap, crap, crap. The three must have ran out on the road as I was passing, I never saw them. Sorry little guy.
I pull into the lot and pull out my pack. I was carrying two liters of water, some snacks, full rain gear and a fleece pull over in a very small pack. I checked the topo again and headed out. Good to be up high again. As I was gaining the ridge to Spalding I was keeping a close eye on the not so good looking clouds. Pausing every once and a while on the way up I was trying to decide if it was ok to continue. Seeing no rain and hearing no thunder I kept going. I climbed up onto the ridge and saw no rain and no lightning so decided to head up to Spaldings summit. I checked out the register and saw that some guy had climbed the day before and had logged his millionth summit of Spalding. Ok so not his millionth but it seemed that way.
I decided to try and finish the hike and headed down towards the Sawtooth. As I started heading up the other side of the saddle I looked back to check the weather and realized that I had walked by a tent! It was quite a ways behind me so I just kept going up Evans. I ran into a couple of people on their way down from Evans one was the owern of the tent. Turns out this guy was a film make from my state of MN and was up trying to see if the head injury he sustained a while back was going to affect his ability to play up high, hence the tent.
I hiked up towards the summit running into more and more people. The lot was full and of course there were many people on the summit so I just tagged it and headed over to the bathrooms. Refreshed I headed down.
The climb down was much faster and a lot shorter because you just head straight down the eastern slope. I got to the car and decided I could do for some more hiking and headed off to hit the other 13er I had read about. That trip took longer than I had thought as the clouds moved in on my way down and navigation was a bit tricker.
All in all a good acclimation hike and not at all hard.
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