Day 2
Cottonwood Lake to Soldier Lake

The range of temperature is very large.  Eighty-five to ninety degrees in the afternoon, thirty-five to forty degrees at night.

You can see by the way the group is dressed that it's still cold as we prepare breakfast.
First task for the day is traversing a large scree field on the flanks of Cirque Peak.

I'm trudging up the trail toward Long Lake. 

The second day I really began to feel the strain and the altitude.

Bob and the two Mikes just seemed to get stronger as the hike progrssed.

New Army Pass is still ahead.
Past Long Lake the trail rises again. 

More uphill as we progress toward High Lake.
We take a long break on the shores of High Lake to prepare for the steep climb over New Army Pass.
The trail up New Army Pass was a good trail given how steep the ascent was.

The view was good back pas High, Long, and Cottonwood Lake where we camped.

In fact Horseshoe Meadow where the hike started can be seen as well.
Near the top we ran into snow but it was melted enough to not cause any problems.

A few weeks earlier I think the going would be very rough.
Near the top we had to shed our packs and hand them up then scramble up the rock sans pack.
Mike gets his pack back on for the final few feet to the top.
We had lunch on top and discussed the feasibility of climbing to the top of Cirque Peak. 

I really wanted to do it but realistically I couldn't add four miles to the day.  I was already pretty beat.

The Alspaughs headed to the peak while Baltimore Mike and I continued down the trail.
There is no doubt that going up is harder than going down but going down is still hard as you push back against gravity.

The west side of Army Pass was not as steep but the slope was long.
Here you look all the way down Army Pass to the headwaters of Rock Creek which we followed to Soldier Lake.
The valley that Soldier Lake is in is gorgeous.  The meadow in front gives way to the lake behind the trees to the right, while the granite peaks surround the valley on all sides.

A truly magical place.
We found a nice place to camp on a rock shelf above the meadow. 

I was quite worried about splitting up the group.  Almost all the trip journals I read online of trip gone awry start with " We decided to split up."

Fortunately we didn't have any trouble linking up with the Alspaughs so all was well that ended well.

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