Williams Pass was almost the whole point of this trip. We knew that the trail was only open in August, and we had the day planned many months in advance. As the day approached, we called the forest service and they thought that it would be open in time.
They normally open it on August 1st, and that was the day before this run. We called in the middle of the afternoon, but the forest service said that it didn't end up getting opened. What a drag! We still wanted to do the other trails, though, so we headed out. We were a little bummed, but everyone was in a good mood.
We did Pomeroy Lakes instead, thinking that now we had the time. When we came around Hancock Pass near the Alpine Tunnel, we were surprised to see that Williams Pass was open! It was a little later in the day than we had hoped it would be when we started this trail, but we decided to go for it anyway.
The start of the trail right at the trailhead ended up being quite challenging. Everyone had fun, and it looked a little scary with people tipping sideways next to the edge of a very big drop-off. We all made it through, though.
There was a section on the trail just past the first gate where you had to weave around the rocks a bit to get through. Mark decided he'd try to power through instead, and ended up sliding his rear end around and getting hopelessly stuck. It took a little muscle and creativity, but he managed to get free.
After the initial rocks, the trail mellowed out. You could tell it wasn't traveled very often, but it wasn't overgrown. We came around a corner and found the red rocks, and then the fun began.
They were wet, and some of them were pretty big. We all worked on the rocks on our own, and everyone made it through. The scenery was amazing, but it was difficult to look at it as well as the challenging trail.
The rocks turned to a muddy mess, and we started climbing a bit more. It was so much fun! There were some big rocks that some people avoided while others went over them. We all picked the lines that worked for us.
We stopped at the pass itself, after the rocks ended and before the mud. We had heard of the infamous mud at Williams Pass, but it turned out to be nothing much to worry about. The hole was fairly deep, but the mud wasn't. We all got through without too much effort, and everyone was grinning.
The way down was much like the majority of Hancock Pass. It was bumpy and pretty in places, but not challenging. The wildflowers were out, though, making it very scenic.
We kept hoping that the gates on the other side would be open. The start and end are in two different counties, after all. What if one forest service hadn't opened their end?
We got to the inner gate and found it open, and then found the final gate open as well. We were all very happy! We finished Hancock Pass and aired up before the sun went down, and we had a nice dinner in Johnson Village at the Coyote Cantina. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic day! We all felt lucky to have experienced this trail.