I hiked most of the way down with the chatty group, then split off to hike down Weatherford Canyon. The aspens are so thick in there.....it is a wonderland. I saw some cat scat----big cat scat. It was on a rock in the middle of the trail, a definite turf-marker but too big to be coyote. And too carnivorous. It gave me a chill to see the rabbit fur tufting out of the turd, and to look around in that thick forest and realize just how alone I was. But I didn't see or smell a cat up there. Back when I used to hike with a small dog, he would get very cozy with me when we were in cat territory. I bet the cat saw and smelled me. I know from my time in Colorado that big cats are mostly likely to attack small women running, so I walked slowly and stood tall. I am not food. Yet.
I'm sore and tired now....will sleep well. I am glad I made this hike. I have wanted to explore this route for years now, and never could find anyone who would complete the high altitude trudge with me. But later this week an old friend Jeff will be here, and we plan to go for the Humphrey's summit.