Actually. . . .we started out wanting to conquer Mt. Ypsilon, the third mountain in the series. But after doing Flattop & Hallett’s -- then Black & Frozen the next day -- we didn’t think we were up for climbing Mt. Chapin first, then hiking the saddle over to Mt. Chiquita, then down and up another saddle to Ypsilon, so Erik told us about a side trail that goes around the side of the mountains and would take us straight to Ypsilon. bypassing Chapin & Chiquita. THAT sounded like a good plan, so off we went.
The trail starts out so beautiful. Lush green, with beautiful, BEAUTIFUL West side overlooks. It was cool (cold actually – which we loved). We’d been hearing everyone say how easy Mt. Chapin was -- but the night before, Erik had fessed up to us that the first part of the Mt. Chapin trail was steep! Of course, if Erik thought it was steep. . .you can imagine what WE thought of it!!! (Huff. . .puff). As we made our way up, we heard a couple behind us cheerily jabbering away as if they were strolling down Elkhorn drive with an ice cream cone. We decided to just step aside, catch our breaths and let them pass. When they passed, the guy had on a ranger uniform, and the girl. . . looking oddly familiar to Bill. . .was. . . none other than our Rocky Mountain Forums infamous “Ranger Susie”, the nice ranger who gave him a ticket in January for “failing to maintain control of his vehicle” when he slid around on the ice and fender bumped a “nice” “gentleman” in an SUV. The next thing I know, Bill is telling her this amazing story I’d never heard before about how she was this folk hero on our Rocky Mountain Forums because she was such a nice ranger who handled a difficult situation very professionally and graciously – so could he please take a picture with her. I couldn’t believe my ears, and was giggling so hard to myself on the inside, I was sure any minute, it would bust out on the outside. But without saying a word, I dutifully, picked up my camera and shot Bill, Ranger Susie AND the one-and-the-same “Ranger Rick” who was also there at the ticket-giving incident, but much more intent on flirting with Ranger Susie than involving himself in the problem. I didn’t know WHAT Bill intended to do with this picture, but I was sure he had something irreverant in mind. We had so much fun with that and the rest of the day, we laughed every time we thought of it. After the photo, Ranger Susie & Rick gallivanted off to go technical climbing down the jagged side of Mt. Chapin. What a woman!!!! (Actually, she really was very sweet and cute, and I instantly liked her a lot).
Well. . .we kept walking on our little side trail, until all of a sudden. . . we HAD no trail. There was only a mountain (a steep mountain) full of boulders and rocks heading straight up to somewhere. "Hmmmmm, we thought. Is that it??????" We weren’t sure WHAT mountain we were heading up, but it was the only mountain we could see right off, and since we saw no trail, we headed up it. And up and up and up! It really was beautiful tho. Wide open spaces of tundra that were particularly colorful and pretty until we got to the rocks. Then, the rocks turned big and white, like quartz. . .like white ptarmigan. The views of the mountains surrounding us – so near, yet so far away – were soooooooo majestic. The beautiful west side valleys below us are just awesome to behold.
Actually, we weren’t sure until we got to the summit which mountain we were on, but when we got to the top and saw Ypsilon Lake beneath us to our left, we realized it was Mt. Chiquita. That was okay tho. It was gorgeous, and we were very proud of ourselves for making it. We realized on our way down, how we should have gone if we wanted to bypass Chiquita and head straight to Ypsilon. We’ll do that one next time. It was way worth it, and I hear Ypsilon is the real prize!!!!!!