Sick of the crowds of unwashed dogs at Lena Lake, but fully aware of the low snow levels, I headed for the Lake of the Angels. This is a decision I would not normally consider in February. But this is not a normal February. Snow levels are very low.
I started my hike at 9:30, sunset was at 5:30 and I wanted to be out before dark because quite frankly, the grave at the trail head kind of freaks me out. Carl Putvin died near here, his family tried to pack his body out but it was too much work so they buried him in the woods. Later it was decided to build a train track across his grave site, so his remains were moved about 1/4 of a mile up the trail.
Carl was only twenty one years old when he froze to death on his way back from picking up supplies in town in January of 1913. His grave is small and in the one hundred years since he was buried the trees have filled in his grave site. Only a small marker and a small pile of moss covered stones mark his grave.
They the Putvins had a home in a meadow above where he is buried, I wish I knew where that was.
I had no more than the usual trouble making it up the headwall and into the valley of the pond of the false prophet. But after that I did have some trouble. The trail was snow covered and on a steep slope. I wished for my ice axe until I realized that the snow was slushy. The snow was deep and slushy and with many hidden hazards beneath it just waiting to break my leg. I nearly gave up.
I was alone, the snow was deep and treacherous, I could not find that trail and I was way up at 4,800 feet in February. How many women would even dare to come up here alone in February? I was going to be late for the school board meeting.
Wait a minute! The GPS said 4,800 feet, that meant that I was just 100 feet in elevation below the lake. I had to push on! I pushed my way up the hill and through the snow with brute force.
|The lake and my pretty purple mug|
This is a very difficult trail, rock climbing is required, route finding is difficult and there is a creepy grave at the bottom of the trail. Don't even attempt this hike unless you are a well seasoned hiker with excellent route finding skills and in top hiking condition. Dogs are not allowed. A high clearance vehicle is often required to reach the trail head. In a normal February this trail would be under 20 feet of snow. The lake is in a cold pocket, so cold that it has it's own permanent snow field just above it.
Waterproof footwear is highly recommended even in the summer.
My photos are for sale as super high resolution digital files with a license to print.
Thanks for reading.
6-8 miles RT with 3,200 feet elevation gain
|15 photo panorama|
|One of the steeper sections of the trail|
|80% grade in places|
I almost turned back just above this point.