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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Highland Lakes - "never underestimate the power of beer"

The last light of the day highlighted Hiram Peak as we arrived at West Highland Lake.
 We set up camp in one of the sites that was in the open.
Dawn and the second camp where I would dismount the 80 watt panel and chase the sun.
 The first day we paddled the lake or relaxed in camp reading.
My eyes continued to look up at Hiram Peak and by evening I knew that the next day my feet were taking me to the summit.
 The next morning I grabbed my backpack and headed for the peak. View of our camp from the first ridge.
The hike up was a pleasant jaunt except for two minor inconveniences. 1) the gravel scramble up the eastern slope from the tarns at 9,000 feet. 2) false summit, the highpoint seen from camp was not the summit. The photo above shows the true summit.
 The summit of Hiram Peak and surprisingly, the spire is an act of nature.
I sat down and read the register and discovered that 29 people had summited in the last 12 months. Fewer than I had expected considering how close the summit was to a popular campground. Reminded me of something I discovered in Colorado. You are seldom alone on the summit of a 14'er, but can find endless solitude on 13'ers.
Climbing down the ramp from the summit I decided to descend off the western side. My curiosity had been awakened by a post in the register by a couple who had looped their hike of the peak.

The west side of Hiram did not have a trail but I did occasionally pick up the faded tracks of two hikers. Spicer Meadow Reservoir in the distance.
 At the western end of Highland Lake a group of five 20-something guys were unpacking their car while Jan and I were taking a sunset paddle. We watched as the young men set up camp on a steep hillside above the lake. Then we had a chuckle when they hauled a large cooler up to their camp. One should never underestimate the power of beer.
Dawn and after spending two relaxing days at Highland Lake it was time for us to move on.

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