Drove in all the way to the start of the trail this time to skip the two miles of road walking. The road was a tad bumpy, but easily passable. Got started around 6:40am and hit the saddle after a half hour. I followed the same route as before, though I did see another trail spur off along the chute (not sure where it goes). When I reached the point where I turned around last time, I charged straight up the hillside. There's at least two trails to follow from there on up to the summit ridge. One of my favorite features on the mountain were the grassy, mellow slopes towards the top. It's almost like they don't belong with all of the gnarly cliffs that are in every direction.
The summit ridge and knife-edge were pretty cool. Even cooler were the views of the other half of Saddle. I wanted nothing more than to flirt with the edge, but I knew better. I kept what I thought was a good distance between me and the sheer drop in case I tripped or something stupid like that. It would really suck if a rattler made some noise on my right and I jumped over to the left!
Twice I tried to lie down and hang the camera over for some shots, but those kinds of pictures never do justice.
At the top I got so antsy looking for one of the benchmarks that I never really sat down to take it all in. After about 10 minutes of pacing all around, I went and checked out the summit register which has quite a few HAZ'ers in it. Snapped some photos while some bees and a tarantula hawk continued to buzz me. I couldn't leave without finding the third benchmark... I did my pacing around once more, only this time I was turning over rocks. And bingo! I'm convinced someone purposely tried to hide it.
Coming down was a bit slippery at times, but nothing too bad. I found that the talus with larger rocks provided more stable footing, second only to the solid tuff and/or rhyolite.
I felt a lot more comfortable with the terrain than I did last week. Really happy to finally bag this one!