We started 5 a.m. to try to beat the heat this late in the season. That was a very good plan. We finished a few hours later, but the parts in the sun were much less enjoyable. I was pleasantly pleased to see there were still wildflowers as we gained elevation because they are mostly gone in the lowlands. The biggest treat of this difficult hike were all the cool lizards we saw. They are usually a sign that there will also be those rattly legless lizards not far behind, but we encountered only one rattle snake, so I feel pretty lucky all around. My first go at this one, and I'm not sure I would have made the effort without this challenge. It is a difficult beast to slay, but how cool to look out my window and know I was there this morning. Really a great day all around.