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This strenuous hike rewards the hiker with great views and a variety of hiking experience. The trail started in a mature forest at the sign warning us that the trail has been decommissioned because it goes through grizzly habitat. Here we had to walk over a few logs but otherwise the trail was in very good shape. As for the bears, well we saw huge diggings in the upper basin, recent and old, by hungry grizzlies looking for roots and ground squirrels, but the bears apparently moved over the col to Gypsum Creek for the weekend. We followed the rocky eastern escarpment to the end of the former official trail where we had a rest break. Then we traversed above a small steep valley, through forest and flowery meadows where rhododendrons bloomed. A large creek sprang from the depth of the earth below us and tumbled down. We came to a small lake, partially covered with ice, which was the gate to the upper basin. The trail climbed to the ridge, changing from grass to rocks near the summit. The sheer vertical drop to the east gave us the alpine experience. Despite Danís setting a good pace, it still took us almost three hours to reach the summit. We descended on shale to a col and followed a gully that brought us back to the main trail near the small lake. As this was a talkative group, time passed quickly on the hike and on the road. Peter Minarik
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