Because the hike was to be so short and simple, I took very little gear---just some food, water and a cell phone which soon went out of range. I walked to Phelps Lake with little distress, so I decided to go a little further...to the mouth of Death Canyon. Again it went quite well, so I decided to try and go a little further, higher up the trail to the GTNP ranger cabin at 3.7 miles and about a 2,000' climb. There I rested and then decided to push on a little further up towards Static Peak Divide....my ultimate goal this summer, but one I'm not yet ready to tackle.
Nevertheless I continued upward along switchbacks until a dark and foreboding cloud with thunder and lightning turned all hikers back down the very steep slippery trail we had just come up.
As darkness and wind overwhelmed Death Canyon, I made it back down to the rangers station. The Patrol welcomed me inside the cabin and offered me a chair to wait out the storm. I took him up on his offer as the wind blew ferociously outside. When things finally settled down and I needed to leave, I asked him for a garbage bag that I could wear as raingear tol continue the descent. Not only did it keep me dry and warm for the hike back, it helped me get back in time for a 6 o'clock dinner with a friend.
This weekend, I'll be leading a moderate hike for the group....and if you're in the area and want to go.....just let me know!