Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sepulcher Mountain

Today Today Colin and I hiked Sepulcher Mountain, a strenuous 12-mile loop hike that starts and ends in Mammoth. We started on the Beaver Ponds trailhead next to the Mammoth Terraces. The first few miles of the hike were filled with beautiful yellow wildflowers. 

The first five miles of the hike climbed steeply uphill to the summit, an elevation gain of 3,500 feet. The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking – sunny yet cool and comfortable. Soon into the hike we entered a burned section of forest, then climbed steep switchbacks up a tall ridge. There we were treated to the first of many amazing views – we could see Mammoth and the Terraces on one side and tall snowcapped mountains on the other.

A nice view at the start of the hike

A nice lake 

The ridge we hiked up

Me at the top of the ridge with beautiful views behind me

From there, the trail continued to climb steeply alternating through meadows and forest. After a few more miles, we got our first view of the rocky summit ahead of us. During the entire hike up to the summit, it felt like we were going slow, but we made it to the peak in less than three hours which we felt was pretty respectable.

Another great view a little further up

Here we could see the summit ahead of us

We stopped at the summit for about an hour, where we ate lunch and took in the incredible views on all directions. We could see Gardiner, the Absorokas, and Paradise Valley on one side and Electric Peak looked as though we could reach out and grab it on the other side.

Electric Peak in the background from the summit

Colin and me at the top

View from the top

Another summit shot

Paradise Valley in the distance

Gardiner and mountains from the summit

Electric Peak

It was hard to leave the amazing views at the top, but we knew we better continue in order to finish the 7 miles left in the loop. We began switchbacking down the other side of the mountain from which we had ascended. The other side was a grassy meadow that offered amazing mountain views as we descended. It took us an hour and a half or so to get down the switchbacks. From there, we entered a forested area and then connected with part of the Terrace Mountain loop towards Mammoth. The trail was mostly downhill from the summit onward, which is harder than it sounds to hike. We finally finished the hike at around 6:30 PM and about 6 hours of beautiful hiking.

A view on the way down

Switchbacking down

One last look back at Electric Peak

Sepulcher Mountain was definitely one of the more difficult hikes I have done, but it was also one of the most beautiful. The views from the top were indescribable and the photos I took just don’t do them justice. I am really happy that Colin was here to share such an amazing hike with me!

After the hike, some of my friends at the dorm had a little birthday party for me. It was really sweet! Erica, Maeve, and Jess gave me really wonderful presents – a hand drawn card, a Yellowstone mug, a Junior Ranger badge (with my name on it!), and an arrowhead. Kate and Michaela baked me a delicious cake based on Michaela’s Italian grandmother’s cake recipe. It was delicious! Afterwards, we had a bonfire outside and everyone came down to hang out. Chris improvised a blues song and made up a verse about everyone at the fire – it was really memorable. What a great birthday weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I remember looking at Sepulchur trail's description on the map we bought and thinking it would be great to do that, but there wasn't time to do everything. However, reading your description makes me feel like I was there.