Jonathan took the lead so that I would not take a pace that would leave us both feeling dead. Very early on I was thankful for this decision since even at his pace, I was feeling pretty winded and light headed. This made me wonder how far I would be able to make it up the hill. As we continued hiking and taking occasional breaks, it was not so bad. I guess I got something of a second wind. The dog seemed completely unaffected by the altitude.
We wound our way up the steep path through the trees. As we neared the treeline, a thunderstorm passed through dumping some rain. After we waited it out, we went on up and started up the ridge above the treeline. We had not gone too far beyond the trees when another thunderstorm blew up. Hoping to lessen our risk of getting hit by lightning, we retreated down to the treeline and waited 45 minutes for the storm to pass. After it had gone, the sky was clear and we could not see any more storms coming our way, so we set off again.
The ridge looked very intimidating from a distance, but it turned out to be not nearly so bad as it looked. There was a short section of scrambling where the dog had a little trouble finding her way. After we got a bit further, we reached the section known as "chicken out ridge" due to the fact that getting past it requires scrambling up a knife edge ridge with very substantial drops should one fall. Thinking that it would be difficult (at best) to drag the dog up and down this area, we turned back.
As we headed back, another thunderstorm blew up. Rather than continue to hike and risk getting caught out in the open during the middle of it, Jonathan and I decided to take refuge in a large overhang/crack in the rocks we had scrambled over previously. After a half an hour of wind, lightning, thunder, and hail, it cleared up a bit, though it looked another storm looked like it might pass by near us. We decided to hustle on down to the tree line.
There ended up being a slight delay due to a certain reluctance on the part of the dog. There was no place to get by the overhang/crack which the dog felt like she could manage. Finally, I ended up going down and helping her up by pulling/lifting her up and letting her use me as a ladder of sorts. In light of this, it was probably a good thing we did not try to go further up than we did.
The trip down was largely uneventful. There were a couple of short rainshowers which we took shelter from under trees.
Most of the time I pack far more than I use. This time I left most of it at home and found myself thinking it would have been nice to have some of it. This was especially true after I got a chill from the wind and rain which led us to retreat to the tree line. Fortunately, some others took shelter with us and let me use a shirt for a while.
I was pretty surprised at how many people were on the mountain. I would guess it was in the range of 40-50.
When we parked near the trailhead, we were next to a group of three guys who had apparently camped out there the night before. We headed out in front of them, but they caught up with us while we waited out the storm at tree line. They were a friendly bunch who shared food with us and the dog and loaned me a shirt to help me warm up. They were all working at INEEL, it sounds like they were just there for the summer, though I am not sure. We left them at tree line when the storm passed and did not see them again.
Also, while waiting at the treeline, we saw the fellow who was apparently the first one up to the peak that morning. He looked like he was in his 40's or 50's and he was jogging down the hill. He had apparently left at about 5:30 am and reached the peak by 8:30 am. I think it was about 9:30 or 10:00 when we saw him and he was about halfway down. I concluded that the fellow was in pretty good shape.
Many people were surprised/impressed with the fact that the dog was with us. With the exception of the scramble, the dog did far better than Jonathan and me. We talked to one guy near where we turned around and he told us that he used to take his dog into the mountains, but that stopped after he had to carry it down a couple of times when its pads had been torn off. Fortunately, we did not have that trouble with Ce'Nedra.
One fellow we passed looked like he was having a hard time of it. We first saw him on our way up the scramble part. He had made it to about 600 feet below the summit when he got dizzy and and headed back. We caught up with him again not too far from the trailhead and he was moving slow and taking lots of breaks.
I would like to go back there again and spend more time exploring. There were many interesting dead trees that would be nice to take pictures of. I would also like to make it up to the top.