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Friday, June 18, 2010

Senior Hiking #356 - Harrison Lake

50° June 7, 2010…Harrison Lake tr #217…

hike #356
by Betsy

Today said 30% chance of thunderstorms…we took the chance and drove the nineteen miles of Upper Pack River Road to the end, and the very last trailhead, Harrison Lake. We were stopped by snow at 18 mile marker so had to walk the last mile in wet, deep and slushy snow…not that much fun. We debated whether or not to bring the snowshoes and decided not to. We have hiked this trail so many times that I’ve lost count, and in recent years have used it as a jumping off point to go off trail and climb to the tops of many of the surrounding peaks, including two, maybe three of the Seven Sisters range. On another historical note, this was our very first hike seven years ago!

There was so much serious snow runoff…and many full creeks to cross. The danger here was stepping into holes, which we did several times but luckily not over the snow bridges. Lots of post holing but mostly it was okay in boots.

We did see some older boot and snowshoe tracks. There was just one huge downed tree which we were able to navigate thru and some other bushwhacking to contend with and that neither of us picked up any ticks is good. We got lost again in the usual place…it is very difficult to see where the trail goes with the snow but just kept going up and eventually found the lake, and by now the sun was coming out.
The lake was beautiful with the shimmering blue color of the ice offering spectacular photo ops and I quickly took advantage of that before we lost the sun. We explored a bit, walking around to the end of the lake to eat lunch but first had to walk up the steep snow bank for better pics. Just as we finished lunch, the sky turned black, the sprinkles began and we figured we had better get out the raingear and ‘head out of Dodge’!

Of course, putting the rain gear on guaranteed that the rain would stop and we change in and out of our jackets several times before the clouds really let loose never to stop, continuing even after we got to the truck. It rain and hailed so hard but neither one of us got cold. Thunder and lightning added to the drama. The last mile walk back to the truck was relentless…the snow was really ’mashed potatoes’ by now and it was very hard to walk in. Again, it was not that much fun. I never did put the rain pants on so my legs were soaked. Just as we did last week, we quickly took off all the wet stuff, threw it in the back and turned the heater up as we drove out. And we saw an elk, and then a moose running on the road…I got a pic of the moose but the elk was too fast for me.

Left home 9:20
Walked up road 10:30
Started up trail 11:00
Got to lake 1:30
Headed down 2:10
Got to truck 4:30
Total miles hiked 9 miles
Total hiking time 6 hours
Note from Diane:  I am not a hiker but I have actually hiked to Harrison Lake.  It is a beautiful little lake and a very pretty hike.  These pictures take me back a few years.  Betsy always takes a lot of pictures and I have to choose which to show in this blog.  It is a very hard decision.  Since I can't publish them all, you may want to take some of these hikes yourself to see the beauty of North Idaho first hand!

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