Some people don't hike the same trail twice. Clearly, I'm not one of those people. I've been on some of my favorite and most convenient trails more times than I can count. (Not true, I count everything. I'm kind of a stats nerd.) Aside from the comfort familiarity brings I love seeing how the same trail changes based on the weather, the time of year, and my mood.
This time in the Ramparts it was full of color like I've never seen it before. We started early (of course) and were in the shadows until we topped out in the Gully of Doom. From there up we were in the early morning sun under blue skies.
In the Northwest, especially high in the Cascades, Fall color is often in low bushes. The carpet is a mix of reds and yellows broken by small stands of green trees. (If you're really lucky you get to adventure with golden larches, but that's only in select areas and it's perhaps the only thing missing from the Ramparts.) Top it with a blue sky, frost on the leaves, and snow-capped mountains and it's a great time of year.
As long as it's not raining. But that wasn't this trip. (Don't worry. There will be plenty of rainy trips to come.)
Highlights of this trip included a goat at Lake Lillian (a first!), dogs loving it as much as the humans, ice erupting from the trail, Mount Rainier on the horizon, a split thumbnail, and a bit of bonus adventure as we tried to find an alternate way down off the ridge. (Pro-tip: Not for dogs.)
If you want a particular experience on a trail timing is critical. I don't have that kind of flexibility in my schedule so I take the lazy approach of just going back again and again until I get lucky. Sure, some of the trips are notable more for their suffer quotient, but when you get lucky it can be spectacular.