Headed east from the trailhead and immediately we were ascending into the colorful woods.
After passing the trail to giant ledge we turned north and began traversing the hillside.
The traverse crossed several small cascading streams and one larger pretty series of waterfalls where overnight hikers were filtering water for themselves. Here Mike and Brian explored the falls further up, and Mitch took out his camera for the first time.
After this nice break, the trail bended east and down along the gully. We then crossed another creek and had to locate the stone stairs. Once we found those we headed upward and north before the trail bent eastward and leveled. We then passed what mike called the cathedral of rock. Somehow, he missed the campsite that was across from this outcropping, and overlooked the small valley.
The trail then steadily headed eastward into the valley until arriving at the Woodland Valley Campground. We crossed the parking lot and road and located the trail back behind the empty campsites. We had originally hoped to camp here, but they closed for the season just before our trip.
We crossed the roaring river on a foot bridge and then immediately began the rigorous ascent south towards the sign in box.
After the sign in box, we marched forward and upward. There were several occasions where Mike lost the trail while leading, but nothing that resulted in anything other than a temporary scenic diversion.
Around 3500 feet, we did have a bit of a scare trying to find the route along a ledge and the ledge seemed to feel unstable. Had it moved, we could have all gone sliding/falling hundreds of feet down. Good thing we got off of there and got back on track quick.
The last push seemed to be quite a bit more vertical and it was necessary to use our hands often.