11.5 miles of hiking • 2250' elevation gain •

Lower trail along the lake was good, but about 300-500' up on far side of the loop there's still 2-4 feet of snow (mixed with slide alder laying at different angles). Worst 3 miles took about 4 hours of deep postholing. Returned to car shortly before midnight.

It gets amazingly dark in those parts - if I just followed the trail with flashlight it would be easy (done it there), but trying to follow the terrain I could barely see snow-covered ridge ahead of me, and didn't see anything beyond 30-40 yards once snow ended. A tiny light of Coldwater Visitor center was visible on the other side of the lake, that was a nice beacon: if I wasn't seeing it anymore, this meant I dropped off ridgeline onto E side. Top of the ridge was easy going, almost no snow - only by the end I finally got lost and descended on the E side a couple hundred feet; followed old road grade back to the trail. Saw elk at least 3 times, pretty cool. Some ski tracks followed the ridge, but they turned back just before real snow.


Woodswalker and Karl heart this trip.

April 11, 2017

Wow, sounds like a mess, alright. Surprised there's that much there, in a way, too. (Which I shouldn't be, really, given I was just similarly surprised on top of Table! Uffda...)

April 15, 2017

Yes, I'd say it will take at least til May, to melt all snow up there! Very soft and deep, almost like early winter snowpack - missed my snowshoes and GPS. What made it more interesting, by the time I left brush behind it became really dark, I was running into big snowdrifts and steep snowy slopes, backtracked quite a few times. Headlight doesn't really let to see very far ahead. But all in all, great learning experience:)

BTW I forgot to mention, met OH fame Sean Thomas running, less than 2 miles into my hike. He didn't know me but I recognized him from forum pictures of course. I think he went on lower trail out-n-back.

April 17, 2017

Love those random encounters!