Decided to take the day off and try, for a third time at these peaks. My son was also off, from school, and I just needed a reason to not go to work. I had tried these peaks on two other occasions, both times I didn't make it pass the Nippletop/Colvin junction. That would not be the case today.
We signed in at the gate house at 6:45am, there was only one other hiker that signed in ahead of us going to Armstrong/Upper Wolfjaw mountains.
Gotta love the Lake road trek. Its really easy to navigate and there is usually a fair amount of wildlife to see right from the road. At the begining of the road where you sign in you will often see deer, then further up at the small dam on the left there is usually a bunch of rainbow trout in the pool.
We arrived at the Gill Brook shortcut trail at 0800 and meander our way up the trail. This is a very pretty trail as it winds it way up to the junction if skirts the brook.
Arrived the Nip/Colvin junction at 10am. From here is a fairly short jaunt to the summit of Colvin at 1130. Just below the summit is a tricky section that requires some stretching (at least for short people). We took a break on the summit, enjoyed the views and headed off to Blake.
The trail over to Blake was worse than what I had expected and read about, seriously wish there was some ladders in there. From the col up to Blake summit was pretty steep also, what seemed most discouraging was the elevation loss, you think your hiking two mountains when in reality its 3. Colvin twice (once from each direction), and Blake.
One of the most memorable moment of this hike was the two good Samaritans we ran into 3/4 the way up Blake. I was not feeling very well and asked them to stick with us until we all got back to the Nip/Colvin junction. They agreed and also helped me with my issues. This was kind of ironic since one of the other two hikers began having issues as well. We all agreed to stick together till we got back to the trailhead. It was a good day of team work, and we met some really cool hikers.
We got back to the gate house at 6pm.
Trails were in pretty good shape. Very little ice mostly on the north face sections, not enough to need microspikes, and this was predominately above 3500'.