“It must be the clouds in my eyes.” ~ Elton John
Peggy’s Pond , Mt. Daniel
Peggy’s Pond sounds modest but as she sits above the Deep-est of Lakes, surrounded by Craggy Rocks of Holy proportions – we found her to be a pocket full of treasures. The theme of our summer has definitely been to wander whenever a window of opportunity reveals itself. Mikey was gone for the week prior, with work, and we had our big anniversary trip looming just days away – but we also had an open Saturday and some decent weather. So, we did what do best and took to the wild for another epic one-nighter.
As all of our epic one-nighters begin – we rose before the sun and hit the trail at Tucquala Meadows by 7 a.m. But, even at the break of day the lots here were overflowing with adventurers. The Hyas Trail 1376 and the Cathedral Trail 1345 both begin here and each opens up to a plethora of desirable destinations.
We’ve been to many places via these trail heads but this time we took to the Cathedral Rock Trail 1345 and headed towards something new to us ~ little nugget deemed Peggy’s Pond.
In just under five miles we climbed a modest 2000 feet through the lush forest.
Passing a tranquil Squaw Lake along the way.
And catching pretty peek-a-boo views as well.
Until that holy slab of rock loomed off in the distance. Cathedral Rock.
Other pretty puddles tempted us with their shimmering reflections.
But, we pushed on towards Peggy’s Pond.
We made sure to hug right along the walls of the Cathedral instead of dropping down to Deep Lake.
And hug we did.
This portion of the trail was a little rugged and rocky and droppy.
We passed a sweet lady along the way that told us we’d first meet up with a pond that was not as popular as Peggy, but if we ventured off the path a bit we’d find a bluff that looked off into the distance and the deep.
And that’s where we found this sweet spot.
Where we staked down for the night.
And then we ventured up to pay Peggy a visit.
By mid-morning Peggy’s popularity had only drawn one tent that we could see. We paused just above her divine resting place and had a lunch date, with wild blueberries as our side, hoping the clouds weighing down upon Mt Daniel would rise with the breeze flitting its flanks.
And then we ventured on up with our high hopes, passing this epic little spot along the way. It was ‘dry’ but the views deemed it a penthouse suite.
I was drawn to the remnants of a once pretty pine marking its place. It’s skin was a cracked and creviced masterpiece of memories. Much like my own:)
We knew the climb to Daniel was perhaps a bit beyond our reach. WTA claims it should be reserved for only the ‘experience mountaineer’. But we grasped for it’s nebulous cap all the same.
Towering cairns showed us the way.
And vibrant wild flora reminded us of our resilience.
Soon we were looking down on the not very circle-y gem-like Circle Lake.
And a wondrous webbed glacier.
As we continued to climb we kept telling ourselves we’d stop when it didn’t seem safe.
And then just about when we could spy the ambiguous Spade, the trail climbed a rock we could imagine slipping off.
So, we took a seat and called it good. Thankful for the sublime views and the absence of clouds in our eyes:) When you are out here, in the rugged wild, its easy to get caught up in the adventure and forget yourself. And your mortality. Its good to reach for great heights. But, its also good to know your limits.
We soaked in all the goodness we could in one sitting and then we ventured back down the way we came.
Along Daniel’s rocky outstretched ridgeline arm.
Towards Peggy’s pretty little nesting place.
And the modest little plash that lead us back…
To our provisional perch above Deep Lake..
Where we boiled up some water.
For a pre-dinner brew, and high hopes.
Of a splendid sunset and a starry night sky.
Dinner was all I hoped it would be:)
But, that sunset and that starry sky eluded us. Instead, the day just faded into grey. But the company sure was great.
By sunrise the opaque sky still held strong, only intermittently opening up tiny little pockets of pink.
We’ve grown fond of long walks, no matter the weather, so we mapped out a longer little jaunt back to the car.
Packed up camp.
Leaving it a little better than we found it.
And headed on our way.
Out of Peggy’s Pond’s Pond:)
Back to this little junction.
Then, instead of heading South back on 1345, we hitched a ride on the PCT, heading north, taking the long way home.
The trail dropped quickly and soon we were looking up at the walls of Peggy’s backyard.
But, the nebulous continued to surround us, smoldering out any other views.
There was a fun little fording.
And every once in a while a single solitary sunbeam would break through the contumacious veil of vapors in the sky, and shine its light.
At this junctions we jumped off the PCT and hugged right towards Hyas.
Just before the lake we had one last chance to sneak a peek at what looked like Daniel, but the clouds were still in our eyes.
So, with the lofty realms all hidden from view, Hyas got the last of our beholden affections. For, as always, cloudy skies or not – we left the dirt path better than we came.
We are not guaranteed anything in this life. We always hope for blues skies, mountain tops, sunsets and starry nights. But, no matter the weather, beauty remains. When the heavens close up a bit, they are only leaving room for other things to shine.
Day 1 – Cathedral Rock Trailhead to Peggy’s Pond’s Pond Little Lookout:) ~ 5.5 miles
Day hike most of the way of Mount Daniel ~ 4.5 miles roundtrip
Day 2 – From Camp, Up the PCT and Around Hyas ~ 11.2 miles
Total Miles ~ 21.2