Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The little lake that you can see from the top of Mount Ellinor

Photo I took of the lake in 2010.  I took this photo with a media loan camera
on the  day that I hiked up Mount Ellinor to catch the sunrise.

There is a little lake that you can see when you are on the summit of Mount Ellinor.  You kind of have to stick your head over the edge to see it.  I've never seen anyone down there.   Years ago I decided that I wanted to go down there.  Years ago I did not have anyone to do these crazy off trail trips with, but now I do.  So once again I teamed up with Phil and we went on a slide alder, devil's club, lake bagging, route finding adventure.

The route was only 2 miles but it took us five hours to reach the lake.  It looked so much easier on the topo map, but doesn't it always?

Trail looked good at first, it's 9:50AM

Then it turned into a boulder field with no obvious trail

More mossy boulders with big gaping caves under them

Then the trail turned to brush

Then more brush with rocks we could stand on to look out over the brush

We lost a lot of time route-finding and stopping to rest 

We have to go up the meadow  yes,  but do we really have to cross that notch?

Standing on a big rock in the meadow trying to find a less brushy route

We had to brush crash for about an hour, neither of us had gloves
and there was a lot of Devil's Club and Goose Berry thorns to deal with.
I lost my gloves on the way up and Phil forgot to pack gloves.

Then we tried to crucify ourselves by  bouldering in a slimy creek bed to get over the notch

Tricky when wet

Looking back down where we came from while standing in the creek

Out of the creek and into the woods there were flags of many colors
the orange ones are mine, don't follow them, we found a much better route down

Big Lion's mane, there were three on this log, I only took one

Patches rests on top of a log, since she is at my eye level I snap a shot

Time for more bouldering, Patches struggled here

There was a field of big boulders right before the lake
the orange speck in the middle is me.  Phil took this picture.

we hit a big flat rocky area just below Mount Washington

We found a grassy area where big animals had flattened  grass while sleeping

At about 3:45 we found the lake.  Mount Ellinor is the peak on the left

Another view of the lake and Mount Ellinor, it was bigger than I expected

We realize that we have no time to stay at the lake, it took us 5 hours to get there
and there are only 3 hours of daylight left. There is no part of the route that we want to do in the dark.
We at the very least, want to make it through the slide alder and devil's club before darkness sets in.

Found another one of these on an easier route on the way down

Back down into the slippery creek bed Phil fell and nearly did 
the splits right before I took this photo.  Patches is barking her head off
because she is not sure how to get down and she wants us to hurry up.

The sweet light

The clouds are chasing us down the Mountain

It's 7:10 and the dark sets in just as we hit the big mossy boulder field.
There are giant holes under the boulders and we don't want to fall in.
It's time to put away the camera, put on the head lamp and cross our fingers.
We lose the trail many times because there is no trail.  Brush crashing by headlamp is
difficult because you can only see the branches in your face and nothing else.

At 8PM I lose the trail  yet again and I look around with my head lamp and then
 I see  see my license plate glowing on the road ten feet away from me
How to make goddess laugh?
Tell her your plans.

Our actual route the long straight line is where I turned off my GPS on the way
down in order to save battery power
 Home now and stiff and sore, scratched and bruised.  Tomorrow I'll start pulling the devils club out of my hands, I'm too tired to deal with it today.

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