I discovered that the real problem of springtime hiking in the mountains is that the north side of each ridge is still covered in snow. With the trail hidden several feet below me, I trekked east, following lynx tracks across the hard snowdrifts. It was a slow process; each step needed a foothold to be kicked into the snow or I risked losing my grip on the slope.
The mountains loomed above me with a striking sense of permanence. I clung to the snowbound bluff while the sun began to set behind me.