Lake Angeles

 

DECEMBER 12 - 13, 2009   A Mountaineers winter backpack.  Billed as a snowshoe/snow camping trip, I was startled to arrive at the trailhead and find a complete lack of snow.  We strapped our snowshoes onto our already heavy packs and headed up the rough trail.  A light snow that had fallen earlier had been trampled by hundreds of boots and made the uneven trail slippery, and I missed my Microspikes at every turn.  These woods are lovely, but I am always surprised to see how messy nature is.  There were blow downs and slippery stream crossing to navigate, and in one place in particular, evidence of devastating winds that had decimated hundreds of trees.   We passed many day hikers who seemed surprised that we were going to spend the night at the lake.  I noticed they all had Microspikes, or at least YakTrax, and I envied them.  A delightful surprise early on the trail:  someone had decorated one of the trees along the tree for Christmas.  The temperature dropped as we gained elevation, and we encountered more snow.  Sections of the trail that had flooded were frozen solid and although beautiful, they were treacherous.  We had to skirt the trail on a steep slope to avoid the ice. 

Although I had left my camera at home, I was glad that my first trip to Lake Angeles was in the winter.  It was beautiful and I missed my camera almost as much as I missed the Microspikes.  The lake was mostly frozen and surrounded by a thin blanket of snow.  Judging from the number of rabbit tracks I saw, this must be bunny heaven.  Close to the lake, other tracks created as much mystery as they provided excitement:  Aren't bears supposed to be hibernating at this time of year?  The tracks were more recent than the last snow and led from the last unfrozen piece of shore up into the woods. 

A light snow fell that night, and the descent was all the more slippery where new snow coated the compact snow and ice.   The photos posted here are compliments of other people who were better prepared than I.

7 1/2 miles round trip

2400' gain