Friday, September 18, 2009

Bighorn National Forest: Darton Peak

When I woke up this morning I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to attempt an ascent of Darton Peak or just hike up to the Lost Twin Lakes and enjoy the beautiful alpine scenery. When I arrived at the Lost Twin Lakes in three hours I decided to give the ascent of Darton a try. I had plenty of daylight left and felt pretty good. I soon found myself boulder hopping up a small drainage on the north side of the lakes into the alpine tundra. The walking in the tundra proved to be surprisingly easy and before I knew it I was at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. This was the best I’d felt in the high mountains in quite some time.

Soon I found myself looking down a sheer drop off into a major drainage with no lakes in it. I hadn’t been expecting this canyon, and so I consulted my map to find that Darton was the peak to the left of the canyon. While I wasn’t exactly where I had expected to be, I was still pretty close to the summit. I stopped to eat lunch there and then climbed over around and under some large boulders on the way to the summit. There was a summit register there that I was surprised to find, so I signed it, hung out for a while and then made my way down the summit boulder jumble.

I decided to descend a different route and my decision led me to the head of another deep, glacially- carved canyon. I carefully peered into the canyon and then started down the mountain in earnest. I was back to the established trail in no time and then hiked mostly downhill back to the car. I did not get lost this time. I did, however, find a nice little GPS unit. I didn’t have the conscience to keep it though. I stopped by the Forest Service office in Buffalo to turn it in. I did ask that if it wasn’t claimed if I could have it sent to me. We’ll see what happens. It would be nice to have a GPS for our adventures.

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