I knew there would be a lot of climbing for this one, but that climb up to the ridge from the avalanche gully was surprisingly big! Lots of wildflowers along the creek that was running through the gully, which distracted me only briefly. I was worried I was off pace for the first couple miles and really wasn’t sure if I was moving quickly enough until I started the descent from Woods Mountain near the end of the loop.
Throughout the loop, I would gain confidence as my average pace started picking up a bit on the downhills. Then another climb would make me start second-guessing. This happened a number of times along the ridge. The long and very steep bushwhack through trees and deadfall at the end was certainly a surprise, but exciting nonetheless. Overall, the views are spectacular and make the trek well worth the effort.