Lake 22

It was a very cold clear day with a few feet of fresh snow. Janet an I chose to head to a low trailhead. Snow began as we came down the hill towards Verlot. The road had been recently plowed. I was concerned that the snow pushed off to the side would block the entrance to the parking lot. In fact, the plow went into the lot and plowed the loop. Unfortunately, it pushed snow into a berm around the parking spaces. I crunched over the snow with my Subaru. A lower ground clearance car would have had some trouble. There were only two other cars in the lot. One group left just ahead of us. The trailhead is at only 1050' so staying low at least let us find a place to park without too much snow. Snow began right at the lot. It was 9:10 am when we headed out.

There was only a few inches on snow in the forest. Not enough to slow us down but enough to put a clean white covering on everything. Very pretty. It was well below freezing at first and only grew colder as we ascended. At the bridge there was a good flow in twenty two creek but it was too cold to have it roaring. The snow made for total silence in the forest. Not even the sound of a bird. The trail is very gently graded making it easy as the snow began to deepen.

We expected the snow to get much deeper where the route leaves forest to begin the long switchbacks through the talus field. First comes the twin waterfalls just off the trail. I know it is at the last switchback before leaving the forest. Unfortunately, with all the snow everything looked different. I took a chance and slogged off the trail where I thought the way trail was located. The trees were heavily flocked  and I took lots of snow down my neck. In just a minute or two I found the falls. Not as much water as I expected but the snow really highlighted the scene.

Next came the open slopes. We had seen a few fresh footprints in the snow. As we figured the snow was much deeper in the open. The two groups ahead of us had not made a trench but at least they punched some nice steps in the snow. Soon we met the group that left just ahead of us. Their puppy had legs shorter than the snow depth. They had had enough. We lost half our trail breakers. The cloudy morning gave way to some bright sunshine. So bright it was hard to shoot photos with the glare off the snow. It did feel a whole lot warmer.

We began to see some great icicles along here. The usual rocky tread was now smoother packed snow. A little easier than when bare. When we went back into the forest the snow depth lessened but the temperature plummeted. Without the sun it was frigid. As we neared the lake we met the first group as they were heading down. Nobody in front of us now. At the lake the snow was just over the back wall. So were clouds. The sunshine was great while it lasted. It did not last very long. The first group only went to the middle of the bridge over the outlet. No footprints after that. Our plan was to try making it around the lake. After a break for lunch we strapped on our snowshoes.

The route around the lake is on  raised boardwalks a lot of the way. This day it was a narrow walkway with unconsolidated snow much lower on either side. Like walking a wide tightrope. I could see falling off and being more than waist deep in the snow. We went half way around the left side when we came to a bare dirt section with snow 4 feet high on each side. We would have needed to jump down four feet  then take off our snowshoes to continue on. Not worth the effort. We would  not have made it around the the lake.

When we took our gloves off to eat and put on snowshoes, I had misjudged the cold. My fingers lost feeling. I could not even depress the shutter on my camera. I pushed and nothing happened. I've had numb fingers before but not like this. It took half the hike down before they warmed up. On the way down the crowds showed up. Not even the cold and recent snow kept them away. We passed dozens of groups heading up. We also took another stop at the waterfalls. Well worth the extra effort. They crowds did finish the trench. Well packed down and smooth. Very easy walking coming out. I expect it was a lot slicker the next day.

This was a great close in snow hike. We did not even need the snowshoes before the lake. Few people in the morning and lots of sunshine. Great timing. The sun did light up the snow so it did not just appear gray. Back at the parking lot most of the spaces were filled. One guy even parked blocking half the road at the exit to the highway. Soon it will be hiking on snowshoes but it was nice to get in a snowy hike with just boots. A great day to be in the mountains.

Snowy Parking Lot
Janet At Sign Board
Tree Hugger
Twenty Two Creek
Sun From The Dark
Sunny Boulder Field
Snowy Arch
Across Valley
Under Trees
Break Time
Flocked Trees
Frigid In The Shade
Nice Colors
Breaking Trail
Along The Creek
Snowy Boardwalk
View Across Lake
Dramatic Background
Turn Around Point
Heading Back
View To Outlet
Janet Nears Bridge
Whitebark Pine
All Shade Going Down
Some Clouds Approaching
Single Falls
Twin Falls
Ice Shapes
Lake 22 Panorama
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2011