Thabk you, park ranger at the visitor’s center, way to recommend a good hike without being prescriptive.
Excited to arrive Monday morning, I asked about hikes in the area I could do while the rest of the crew was en route. The ranger quickly steered me to a distance and elevation gain that took into consideration my just arriving at 7,000′ from basically sea level.
Drive up to lookout knocked 1k feet off and the hike still had a nice up-down-up of 600′ over 6+ miles of ridge-hike views.
Volunteers at the fire lookout were great. Should have taken more pictures!