I figured I would see them there by 9:15AM at the latest since it had taken me so little time to get there. I sat in the car and looked over the maps evaluating our plan. Originally we thought we would head up the trail and camp below the summit but the rangers told me that a storm that night was predicted to dump around 10" of fresh snow and a summit the next day would be next to impossible with drifting snow and near whiteout conditions. They said our best bet would be to do it all today and finish the last bit below tree-line after dark. They estimated that if we could be on the trail by 10AM we'd have a fair shot (I might have sounded more knowledgeable then I was when I talked to them though...). I sat in the car and thought over all of this and quickly 9:20AM rolled around, I began to worry. I decided to walk back up the trail and saw only my fresh prints. Around 9:30 I finally heard their voices coming down the trail and already knew in my mind a summit was out of the question for us. We arrived back at the car by 9:45, packed in and decided that we would at least go up the trail for a few hours and see what we saw. One of our team decided he was done and stayed behind, so the other three of us started up the trail yet again. Quickly another one of the team fell behind and started to turn back. With only two of us left, my only goal was to make it to Hermit Lake and see above treeline. As we continued on we ran into more and more people coming off the mountain, telling us of crazy snow levels and wanting to know how close the incoming storm was. We would trade ideas of how far each was from their objective, wish each other safe travels and continue on our way.
"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountains and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books"