A Cutthroat Dance with Diablo
OK, the title on this one may be a bit much, but it makes some sense in the context of the forthcoming adventure story (well sorta).
While the hike into and up the Cutthroat basin wasn't especially difficult on paper, it somehow turned into a trek of the eternal "just a little bit farther..." You never know what will be around the bend when you're hiking in new territory. Sometimes the payoff at the top is breathtaking. Other times all you can say is, "Well, at least I got some good exercise." The sun was quickly sinking below the mountains and fatigue was starting to set in. We had to decide if we'd keep going up the steep pass and hope we made it to the top and back before sunset or turn back and possibly miss the crowning achievement of any good hike. I looked to my hiking partner, my voice of reason against the unrelenting bad influence of my own mind. She gave it the go ahead and we trudged on and thankfully so. The views from the top were incredible and the dynamic light of the sunset was picturesque.
The hardest part of the day was actually leaving the top and its panoramic views. Once we navigated back down and found the lake, the nagging voice in my head wouldn't let me leave without taking a quick dip. Having noticed that the lake was formed by ice melt and dipping only a foot in, my fellow hiker and voice of reason quickly decided that jumping in would be a terrible... "Canon BALL!" Too late, I had already jumped in and made that same realization, but not from the safe distance of the shore. Cold, hungry, and tired, we made our way back to the road and drove past such an incredible sight that I had to return the next day to make sure that I hadn't imagined it in a fit of post-hypothermic delusion. Diablo Lake owes its incredible turquoise color to the mineral deposits from the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, I didn't get to test the waters there (or the limits of my body's cold tolerance for that matter).