Route Name: Panther Creek
Snow Level: 6500 ft
Elevation Gain: 6300 ft
Total Miles: 17.00 mi
From Trail Head to Camp: 1.5 hours
From Camp to Summit: 5.5 hours
From Summit to Camp: 4.0 hours
From Camp to Trail Head: 1.5 hours
Weather: just like being inside a ping-pong ball
We decided to take Annabelle for her first backpacking trip, and thought Ruby Mountain might be doable plus we've never been on the summer route. We got a late start because we had to plan around her doctor's appointment and her first set of vaccinations. It turns out babies generally don't like vaccinations. The nurse mentioned she might be "a little fussy"... boy was that nurse right!
As soon as we parked the car it started to sprinkle, then after walking 1:15, Annabelle started to "fuss". After another 15 minutes we had progressed into full blown-inconsolable crying. So we stopped, and setup the tent 3 miles from the van... in the rain... with a crying baby. After a few more hours of fussiness and tag-team-sleeping, Annabelle finally went to sleep.
After a partially sleepless night 7 am came early, I figured we both would agree that the trip was scrubbed. However, Brandon woke up and stated that "we're burning daylight" and it was time to go. I briefly thought WTF than quickly changed my thoughts to "why-the-hell-not". It's only a 5,000 foot day, we didn't sleep well last night and it's raining. Despite all that, Annabelle was in good spirits all day and had a smooth ride. Hiking provided a natural exorcism and the witching-hour had ended and we got our happy baby back. We hit snow around 6,700 feet but were able to mostly stay out of it. When we got to the last few hundred feet on the ridge to the summit it got windy and started to lightly snow. We stayed at the summit just long enough to take a few pictures then high tailed it down back to the tree line before the offspring needed anything. It was her first time above 7,000 feet and we all had a good time despite the weather.