It was such a beautiful morning. Clear skies with low lying clouds slamming into the sides of the mountains behind us and tumbling their way over the summits to be free to glide once more. It was cold and fresh as we started the days hike which began with an incline across the valley side. On the opposite side of the valley were snow covered slopes whose melt was fuelling numerous waterfalls, while our side was of open shrub and meadow offering a stunning green brightness.
After some miles we were once again within the snow making our way between mountains an pine forests towards the two passes of the day, Island Pass and Donoghue Pass. Island Pass was small and over looked 1000 Island Lake whose frozen waters nearly masked its presence. It was around here that we were reminded that it was Hike Naked Day as Crush, Sugar Glider and German Jesus all rocked up to lunch in their birthday suits.
Between the two passes lay Rush Creek which was flowing powerfully, but thankfully snow bridges still held strong making crossing easy. Gradually, we left behind the cover of trees as we approached Donoghue, the last of the high passes at just over 11,000 ft. Rounding a corner within a mountain bowl we were relieved to see it wasn’t a steep climb, but a long one, and in the snow and sun exposure we trudged to the summit.
After a rest with everyone among the rocks and marmots the descent began which was of a steeper gradient and consisted of many falls, glissades and tricky rock navigations. Once levelled out, it didn’t take long for the snow to dissipate and for us to be strolling at pace via a well cleared trail, with stone steps and all, over several rivers and down to a clearing among the trees that we called camp. It had been a long and productive day and many of us were tired so food was made and sleep was had shortly after arrival.