It's good to be specialized in the workplace unless there's not enough other people qualified to do your job, in which case, you're hosed, especially if you're very selfish with your free time, as I am. It appears that I'll be seeing a lot less blue sky for a while and that makes me sad.
I got going a bit later than I usually would, which may have been a good thing because just minutes into the walk I found myself following a very (as in, still warm) pair of mama and baby bear tracks. I decided to stay alert and unconcerned. I never did see the bears and shortly before The Pines Camp (below) the tracks left the trail (note: bear clawed tree in foreground).
Up on the ridge, I had traded "bear country" for "grand vista country". Unlike my last trip up Chief, which started and ended in the rain, the rain had come through the night before leaving behind endless miles of crystal clear views.
Another difference between this and the prior outing was the approach to the summit, which I'll call the SSE Ridge. This is actually the most direct way to the summit from the Horn Canyon approach. Pretty simple really, follow the obvious cat-track at the SSE flank of the peak until it ends, ascend the rocky ridge to the summit.
I had a great day, didn't see another soul all day, got some good mileage (15), and generally enjoyed being by myself. See, most of the time I am my own best company.
Below: Horn Canyon
So, I suspect there will be fewer posts for the next however long it takes to get some replacement help for my injured colleague, which makes me the second-most bummed person in that equation. Maybe I'll just have to write a few essays I've been storing away.