June 24, 2011

Not kidding about lots of snow.

What to do on a Friday afternoon in late June? Go in search of snow. We succeeded. The kids and I hiked the trail to Lake Hope with our friend Rebecca.

Trail Head: It took us about 1 1/2 hours to get to the trail head from our home. After the drive to Trout Lake on Hwy 145 you turn right on Trout Lake Road. Then turn left on Hope Lake Road (after several other roads to residences). If you don’t turn here and keep going you will go past a historic train trestle and eventually continue all the way around Trout Lake. The road up is bumpy and more than a mile (forgot to watch the mileage). Switchbacks going up, which always make me happy. Less “up” to be hiking. Big parking lot and well marked start to the trail.

Terrain: Mountain trail, stunning views of nearby mountains and distant ranges, at this time of the season there was lots of snow, and many water crossings. We could walk across all the water crossings, but wow the water was cold and made for hurting feet for a while. Would be handy to have water shoes/sandals to change into as the water was above the tops of our shoes.

Accessibility: This trail is open to only hikers and stock animals. My favorite!

Length: The sign at the trail head said 3.5 miles to the lake. I would guess we hiked about 2 miles (2 hours) before getting to what felt like a half way point at a strong running stream which would make for a pretty good backpacking camp spot.

Difficulty: The first part of the trail (what we hiked) was relatively flat and easy going. Climbed up and over many snow drifts and walked across a lot of water, but nothing that made the legs and lungs scream.

Highlights: We realized that the key to keeping Evan perky on the trail is to think of him like a Border Collie. He has to have a job. If he has a job he will keep on trucking. Sling shot, bow and arrow, barefoot hiking, were all good for him. Maya really struggled with the water crossing. The cold hurt her feet and she had problems with slippery rock and balance. Once she decided to just leave her shoes on, she was a lot more confident. Walking right through like a champ by the end. The views of the nearby peaks were amazing. Super close, tall, steep and snow covered. We didn’t keep going after our beautiful lunch stop by the stream. The snow was getting too constant and slushy. Decided to quit while we were ahead and enjoyed a long break of picture taking, target practice and loafing. People we met on the trail who went on up, said that even though they made it to the “lake”, there was no lake to see as the whole area was one huge snowfield. Wonderful day, wonderful hike. Left home at 9:30 am and home by about 6:00 pm. Definitely do this again.