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Gothics, May 2007

It had been way too long since I was in the mountains and it wasn't hard to convince Jon to join me on a spring hike. I was out of shape from not doing any snowshoe adventures at all this winter for the first time since I owned a pair of snowshoes. This years winter weather pattern definitely affected a few of our planned trips but that's no excuse for not getting out even once. Anyway, I was psyched to get out and wanted to treat Jon to what I still think is one of the best views in the 'Dacks, Pyramid Peak. To get the full effect of this view you need to get there from the Sawteeth-Gothics trail because the view doesn't become realized until you crest the ridge for the first time, and then it just opens up and you realize that you are in the midst of the most rugged peaks on the Great Range. Of course if you go that way, you must take the mandatory small detour and visit Rainbow Falls.
It never gets old!
After a short visit at the falls we got back on the trail and headed toward Gothics. It started to rain lightly about then and I was hoping that it would clear up for the views on top. Our planned route was to make Pyramid Peak, and then see how we felt before deciding weather to hit Gothics and loop back down or just turn around. Shortly after checking the view from the top of Rainbow Falls, the rain began to get steady and it didn't let up until we were almost on top. That meant for a long climb without too many photo breaks. I was glad to be in the mountains but to be honest, it wasn't that pleasant.
Springtime in the Dack's    The rain had just slowed as we started to get some views toward the Ausable Club and Giant Mt.
Wet and Tired    Jon is a little wet and tired but the views make it all worth while.
After our short break from the climb and the rain, it was time to make the final ascent to Pyramid Peak, and it seemed like we would never get there. It gets pretty steep as you work your way up the knife edge that is Pyramid and the rain didn't make the bare rockslides and less slippery, believe me. With every step, the sun tried harder to show itself. When we reached the top, we were not disappointed. The sun only broke through once in a while, but the rain ceased completely just in time for us to face the wind that hammers the west facing side of the Great Range.
The following pictures are various views from the peak and you can see just how rugged the surrounding mountains really are from up there. Awesome!
Well, the improvement in the weather and the awe inspiring views must have energized us because we decided to continue on to Gothics. I think the lunch may have helped also.
Don't slip!
The views from Gothics itself are just as awesome and it's very cool to look one way and then the other and follow all the peaks of the Great Range. I thought about Cave Dog while I was up there and couldn't imagine doing all those peaks in a few days much less, all 46 high peaks!
Pyramid Peak    Looking back at Pyramid from Gothics
So we continued on and decided to take the loop back down to the Lake Road. I really wasn't checking my map frequently and I wasn't naming all of the peaks as they came into view,  so I didn't realize that we blew right past a junction and were starting to head towards Saddleback until we came upon a rock formation that I didn't recognize at all.
Caveman    I think it's time to tell Jon that we're lost.
Of course I wasn't lost at all, I knew exactly where we were and exactly how far off our planned course we were. It just took me a minute to realize it. In hindsight, I almost wish we kept going to one more peak. Saddleback is on my to do list and we really weren't that far. Next time.
Snow in May!    Got Snowshoes!
Hey, if we had stayed on course, we wouldn't have seen the cave, the snow, the cable, or this cool colorful stuff growing on this old log way up high.
Flora and Fauna
So, we backtracked, made a note of where we went wrong and headed in the right direction again. The trail remained rugged as we went up and down until we finally picked up the junction that started us down in earnest. Along the way we encountered a few well placed ladders (thanks) and another very cool rock formation that we could've used a few hours before when it was pouring.
I thought we were going down?    Shelter
It seemed to take forever to get down that mountain. My out of shape legs were beginning to scream at me and scold me for taking a detour. The sound of running water and the sight of Beaver Meadow falls lifted our spirits as we knew that we were at least close to the bottom. Of course we still had the long walk out on the Lake Road to contend with.
Another nice treat    Ausable River
A long day to be sure. I paid for it too, the next day I woke up very sick

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