After almost a week of brutal heat (75F! Can you believe it?) the weather promised to turn colder... Friday. In the meantime, it'd still be hot with the chance of serious storms, but this was Granite Mountain in the early summer. You can't pass it up unless the sky is literally falling.
At the trailhead it was actually not that bad. I'd be thrilled that the river had kept the Moosefish Estate nice and cool, but it didn't dawn on me that it would have the same effect up the freeway. At least it didn't dawn on me until we started climbing away from the river and it got hotter as we got higher.
To make matters worse I was pushing hard to catch up. Tokul decided to relieve herself at the trailhead just as everyone was leaving. It was only a minute delay, but when the rest of the crew is hiking fast already I was hard pressed to catch up. I could see other hikers higher on the switchbacks, but didn't catch anyone until I was just at the first of the gully crossings.
I hiked most of the trail with Scott and the TLABs, Athena and Zeus. Tokul actually stayed with me until we got onto the snow and she was able to slip away, though she remained leashed. (Unlike other trips she didn't take off. I think she was also suffering a bit in the heat.)
At the top we saw the thunderstorms weren't going to get us this time so we relaxed a bit and there was much foolishness. We didn't stay too long, even with great views and a promising sunset.
Perhaps the best part of a snowy Granite Mountain is the free pass on the way down. There are a bunch of great glissade slopes, though I had to choose carefully to avoid some rocks coming through. Another hiker watched, but couldn't bring himself to give it a try. I got three great runs dropping perhaps 500 feet in total.
I hiked down with Larry, but without Tokul. I could see her leash line in the trail's dust so I knew she was ahead of me even if she wasn't playing the part of the loyal dog. I had to turn on my headlamp for the first time at the parking lot so she could see my face and climb into the car.
Total distance was 7.7 miles and 3,850 feet of gain.