2017/12/26 – Surprise Lake VI / 驚喜湖之六

Peek-a-boo
Peek-a-boo

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Due to a higher chance of snowfall on the mountains on Christmas Day, we postponed our trip to today. Road was drivable and I parked on the south side of the railroad tracks to start the hike. I was excited to see day-old ski tracks on the trail like last year. That usually translated to less postholing and a higher probability of getting to the lake.

At the log crossing ski tracks continued on the summer trail, and snow had been packed down enough to keep hiking in boots with microspikes for balance. I finally put on snowshoes after reentering the forest past the last talus field.

Surprise Creek in the AM
Surprise Creek in the AM

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Tracks ended slightly above starting of the steep terrain at 3,800′. Surprise Creek being an earshot away meant that we were smack in the middle of the basin, and we needed avoid the giant boulders straight ahead.

While trying to figure out a way to negotiate snow-covered boulders, I spotted a faint path farther left in the basin. It appeared to be heading in the direction of the summer trail, so we backtracked down a bit to get to it. Covered in the latest snowfall, the path served as navigation rather than keeping us from postholing.

Ripples
Ripples

Photos from this trip can be found here.

The path eventually dwindled at 4,200′ as we continued to break trail and posthole. Laboriously we powered through the last few hundred feet into the lake basin with more fresh snow awaited. Continuing in the direction of the summer trail, we found a good place to cross the shallow stream east of the lake and reached the lake’s outlet.

Weather was nearly identical to what we got last year, full of sunshine and windless during the entire stay by ourselves. A dozen intrepid Gray Jays within close proximity kept us company while begging for food.

In full display
In full display

Photos from this trip can be found here.

We enjoyed one hour of warmth and relaxation by the outlet before heading out. A few pairs of snowshoe tracks looked to have turned around at the bottom of the steep slopes. Our tracks should still be in good shape to follow, assuming no snowfall is to be expected in the next few days.

Gear: microspikes, snowshoes

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