Top of the Bighorns
This was my view while I ate lunch on Cloud Peak, the highest point of the Bighorn Mountains. I timed this 25 mile long, 3 day backpacking trip with the hottest day of the year. While the temperature topped 100°F down in the valley, up here at 13,167 feet it was much more pleasant in the 60's. At this high elevation the boiling point of water is 25° cooler than at sea level. In the cirque 1500 feet below lies the Cloud Peak Glacier. It is the only glacier in the Bighorns and is predicted to be gone 20 years from now. As the compressed snow and ice slowly slides down the mountain slope, it grinds up the bedrock beneath it and forms a very fine silt called "rock flour". This flour becomes suspended in the glacial meltwater and gives the lake it's greenish-turquoise color that changes with the lighting conditions. In the hour I spent on the summit I heard the sound of numerous rockfalls. Some of them would cause a chain-reaction lasting a minute or longer.