An icy wind tugged at our hats. On occasion, it sounded like an engine starting. The first mile of the trail was set and hard packed. After that, we veered uphill, cutting our own track. Periodically, we would sink into a hole masked by the snow. It was like a march, lifting our legs up higher than normal walking. At one point, John lifted his hand for me to stop and pointed below a bush. There were white mounds that looked like puffs of snow. Then I saw the black beaks and eyes. They were the most beautiful snow ptarmigans I’ve ever seen. As we gradually pressed on, they lifted off in flight. Finally, we got to the place where we could see around the bend. The rocky walls and peaks had that laced effect that early snowfall brings.