8 miles of hiking • 2000' elevation gain •
The cloud cover looked as though it wasn't going to live up to the forecast's promise of sunny skies. But twenty minutes into the hike it all cleared off. There was no sign at the trailhead, but the signage was excellent everywhere else on the hike. I didn't see a single person on the trail. I knew there were lots of folks up on the butte, so I enjoyed my solitude while I had it, with a long slow meander through the meadows. The views past the campground and up to the butte were great. At the top lots of birders were enjoying the day. Volunteers from Hawkwatch International were doing their annual raptor count. While I was up there we saw ravens and turkey vultures of course, but also a merlin and lots of other birds I couldn't even pretend I was seeing without binoculars. Just before I left the volunteers brought down a juvenile coopers hawk they had banded. A wonderful day.