This hike served as a first-time backpacking experience for my husband and I, and consequently a very important learning experience for us both. This hike is the hardest hike we have ever completed–and we did it with 30+ lbs each of gear strapped to our backs. We started our ascent on July 9th. The first few miles up the mountain, albeit extremely challenging, were exceptionally beautiful. It was cloudy, but we thought nothing of it. We saw lots of ladybugs and baby rattlesnake. We took a break at halfway camp, where (out of nowhere!) it started to rain…and then hail…and then we heard some thunder!!! The possibility of rain didn’t ever cross our minds and so we hadn’t thought to purchase pack covers for our backpacks—we didn’t want any of our stuff to get wet, so we set up our tent and hunkered down until the storm had passed. We learned a lot about how to set up our tent to protect us best from the rain—so I’m glad we had this experience. Once it stopped raining (and hailing and thundering), we packed up and continued up the mountain. It definitely wasn’t done raining—it continued to rain on us all the way to High Creek Camp. We had intended to camp at the summit, but didn’t think we’d be able to make it there by a reasonable time due to the horrible weather, so we stayed at High Creek Camp. Our camp was gorgeous—right next to the creek with lots of kairn. We enjoyed the sound of a babbling brook as we dosed overnight.