The weather along the ridge on Saturday was windy and cold. Icicles still clung to rocks where runoff made it's way down the trail or dripped off of rocks that lined the path. As we stood at the intersection with the Boulevard Trail, a popular trail used by hikers to ascend Mt. LeConte, talking with some folks who were indeed headed to the Lodge at the top, we noticed what we thought was snow. "Snow flurries" fell around us, but looking up, there was literally not a cloud in the sky. Instead of snow it was actually frost being blown from the tops of the trees above us, falling to the ground in snowlike fashion. Just past Icewater Spring Shelter, the frost coated the pine needles and flower stalks from last years shrubs.
To say I wasn't a little bit nervous climbing up and over the cracks and crevices that form the face of the rock would be a lie. The wind was whipping up and over our position with enough force that the thought did occur to me that it might be able to sweep us right off the ledge and propel us to our deaths. So instead of standing for that victory shot with the expanse of ridge after ridge behind me, I decided to simply remain seated. It did not reduce the significance of the vista surrounding us on three sides. I could have stayed there much longer than we did, but we still had about 10 more miles to hike. As we were taking pictures of the next hiking group that came to experience Charlie's Bunion, a large bird approached us from the direction we had come. At first I thought it was a hawk, but as it approached, I realized just how large it was. Once it was close enough, I saw it's white head and quickly understood that it was one of the bald eagles that call this park home. What a tremendous treat that was, especially fitting on the day after the Boston Marathon bombers had been killed and captured. Cold chills went all over me and it wasn't from the wind. My only regret was that I wasn't quick enough to pull my camera out in time to get his picture.