The only casualty was a bag of expensive Dagoba chocolate chips, 74% Ecuadorian chocolate. It could have been worse. We’re just hoping that we scared our little visitor back out the same way he came in.
A bit sleep deprived, we still managed to embark on a gorgeous hike up Lamoille Canyon mid-morning. We drove several miles to the top of the canyon and chose the hike to Island Lake, a four-mile round-trip hike to a beautiful glacial cirque. Starting at 8700 feet elevation and climbing another 1000 feet, it was a good uphill climb. The colors were stunning, the foliage starting to take on the reds and gold of fall and the sky deep cobalt.
We spent a couple of hours picnicking and relaxing by the cirque, a small lake created by the advancement and retreat of the glacier. We searched the rocky hillsides hoping to find Himalayan snowcocks, a non-native bird related to turkeys, but way more exotic. They were introduced for hunting in the 1960s, and a small population thrives in this high rocky terrain. We didn’t see any, but while scanning the hillsides, we found three mountain goats—a mama and two young ones. And, of course, we had the company of a couple of relentless chipmunks, who were all over us if we let our guard down for even a minute.
This is such a beautiful place. The nights are pitch black, the sky filled with stars, and the Milky Way stretches from one mountain peak behind our campsite to the opposite side of the canyon. There’s so much more to do here, we’re tempted to stay longer, but it’s time to continue our journey east tomorrow.