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Now well-satiated, we continued along our traverse of the summit ridge. The walk along the top was wonderful: we had a great snowshoe track to follow, the afternoon sun at our backs meant we had perfect lighting as we walked along, and there was almost no wind. It was a jaunt in the mountains of the most pleasant kind.

Soon the track started to descend, steeply in spots, as we made our way down the ridge to the north-east. There are a few minor sub-summits along this stretch, meaning we had a few brief uphills (accompanied by the usual comments of 'why are we going up now...') as we descended. We stopped at the distinctive bald bump for a few more shots. After this we'd be pretty much in the trees for good.
Traversing the summit
Starting Descent
More Sublime Flutings
Andy and his first 4K Summit
Asmir makes for Treeline
Entering the Trees
The way down to Lake Arnold was quick and uneventful. The snowshoe track was in great shape and we really had nothing to impede good progress. At Lake Arnold, we turned left and began the moderately descending grade back to Avalanche Junction. I'm always grateful while doing this section of trail in winter -- in summer I find it an eroded bouldery affair.

With all of the good stuff now over, all that remained was a somewhat tedious trudge back to the trailhead. It's a shame that such a great hike has to end with this sort of tedium; it seems rather like having to eat the veggies after dessert. But, what can you do... sometimes the payment for good things is at the end, right?
Wonderland of Snow
Back at the Dam
Back Safe and Sound
We arrived back at the trailhead not far beyond the 8.5 hour mark. Our average speed was pretty decent for a group of our size, and I thought everyone did quite well (as well as providing good company, a point not to be forgotten).

We topped off the day with a hearty meal at a local Lake Placid restaurant, then piled back in the minivan for the ride home. A most satisfying day. Thanks, all!
Interactive Trackmap
Hike Data - Mount Colden Loop Hike
Start Time: 8:42a.m.
End Time: 5:20p.m.
Duration: 8h38m
Distance: 20.71 km (12.87 mi)
Average Speed: 2.4 km/hr (1.5 mph)
Start Elevation: 2210ft (674m) *
Max Elevation: 4753ft (1449m) *
Min Elevation: 2112ft (644m) *
End Elevation: 2222ft (677m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 3004ft (916m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 2992ft (912m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
Elevation over Distance
Elevation over Time
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