Defying Winter

Defying the weather
Zeusdaddy photo used with permission, please respect all copyrights

Special Thanks to Guest Trip Reporter Ewb:

“Well, at least it didn’t rain much.”  That’s the affirmative drain around
which our Thursday nights now circle.  And it came home in spades last
Thursday on Defiance.

A hearty crew of eight headed up the Ira Spring trail into what are by now
familiar Thursday night conditions: cold, cloudy, wet, and windy.  Sometimes
all at once.  Seven turned toward Mason Lake on the old trail, while one
early ascender continued on toward Bandera.  The seven split at the
junction, with two opting for the high road and the rest for the low road
along the creek.  Despite varied start times and routes, all seven magically
reunited in the woods north of Mason Lake.

The way was snow covered from below Mason Lake to the top.  The rocks along
the ridge were a minefield of man-sized snow holes waiting to swallow and
bloody unsuspecting hikers (it took multiple sacrifices to finally satisfy
them).  The snow was slushy and difficult to make solid steps in at times,
icy hard at other times, hard to kick more than a toe hold in some times,
and dangerously slippery on the high exposed slopes all the time.

Snacks, pics, and frozen extremities up top, then a very careful escape back
down the slippery slopes to more humane conditions in the woods.  Well,
except for Larry, who defied gravity by boot skiing large portions of the
ridge all the way back to I-90.  Or thereabouts.  The remaining mortals were
left to tiptoe through the fragile cruft back to the lake.  Once there the
group was surprised to see a hint of sunset, which had snuck out from under
the very low clouds back up the long southwest facing valley.  It was a
surreal colorful sight on an otherwise dismal visual tour.

From the lake it was a long, dark, rooty, and occasionally crashing, mess
back to the cars.  Owing to the very late finish, only a few opted for the
Pour House.

So, the conditions weren’t good, with nasty weather and a potpourri of snowy
twaddle.  And the beatings were meted out by Defiance with extreme prejudice
to legs, backs, butts, and one bloody finger.  But still, there was that
certain joy that springs from the sharing of trail (and error) with familiar
travelers.  The camaraderie found in communal misery.  The personal
satisfaction of tackling (and surviving!) a very difficult hike in pretty
good time.  Plus, for those who could, there was blessed drink and greasy
comfort at the Pour House.

And, at least it didn’t rain.  Much.

Trail details, NOAA weather, driving directions, maps and past trip reports can be found here: Mt Defiance Info

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