The trail continued through the boulder field, climbing to the ridge. We followed the ridge through golden green fields of grass, heather, and green shrubs tinged with autumn red. We continued following ridges and traversing hillsides all day, enjoying the autumn color that contrasted nicely with the colorful spring like wildflowers that still clustered near the streams. And with every step we inched closer to Glacier Peak.
By the time we reached White Pass (5,904 ft) the sun was setting behind a jagged line of snow capped mountains to the west, disappearing in a cloud of orange smoke. We traversed the steep hillside still lit by the soft orange glow of dusk, crossing several small streams in the process.
Startling a silverback marmot, I watched it amble down the steep, rocky hillside. Not far down the trail we came upon a grouse. I briefly wondered why she didn't take flight or dart away. Then Sierra noticed several small grouse chicks waddling up the hillside, their brown feathers blending with the golden autumn grass.
Dusk faded into darkness as we approached Red Pass (6,500 ft). Reaching a saddle just beyond the high point of the pass, a voice called to us in the darkness. Memphis and Piia were cowboy camped on the saddle and invited us to camp with them. We gratefully accepted, and stopped for the night.