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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Senior Hiking #367 - Harrison Lake to Ridge Trail 217

53° Aug 23, 2010…Harrison Lake to ridge…Tr # 217…hike # 367 by Betsy

It was 44° at our house this morning…and the mist hanging over town was so typical of an early October morning. Did summer pass us by this year?

We have hiked to the ridge once is a nice hike and with not too much bouldering…we learned that last time and found another away around the huge boulder field. There was no one at the trail head today. I dug out my jacket and gloves…it was quite cool and then began the hike up this very hard to walk on trail with its loose rocks, gravel and cobble. There were no huckleberries on this usually ‘purple tongue and fingers’ trail. What happened this year…possibly a severe frost just when the berries were getting ready to set? Heat? Not this summer. Sadly, I found but one…Jim ate it and it wasn’t quite ripe.

The lake was as pretty as ever but wind was rippling over the water surface so I missed out on some nice still turquoise-y shots, so typical of this lake. As we walked around the lake, we saw a camp set up...a couple of tents, a tarp and a backpack hung up in a tree.
No one was around, so we assumed they were rock climbers who had set out early to scale the jagged sides of Harrison Peak, world famous for being a prime piece of rock to climb. We never saw them. We have gone to the top but from the backside where it is more vegetative, though still difficult to navigate. That was fun. We walked up the ridge a bit along the rocks and the drop off on the other side was as steep as could be. One false step and it was a long way dawn. The views were amazing on both sides…it was hard to know where to look…or what to photograph...and not get too close to the edge! We could see the lower of the Two Mouth Lakes on the north side and on the Selkirk side was finally were able to spot our special Little Harrison Lake, tucked in a circ, and of course, Lake Pend Oreille way off in the distance. We looked for a more sheltered spot to get out of the chilly wind to eat lunch as we marveled at the fantastic view of our favorite peaks.

On the way out we saw two more tents now pitched at the lake…people were inside staying warm and then met another couple hiking up as we started down. They looked tired. We saw no bear scat today and only one cougar or wolf track.

Lots of pikas, chipmunks and marmots, all working to get their winter food supply safely stashed away. We saw a dark coated mule deer on the drive out…thought it was a small moose at first.
 And the funniest thing is that as we were driving up our own road, I spotted one the four neighborhood bears but when we backed up to get a pic of it, it was gone. And two days ago, we had a huge moose run up our road and stood at the end of our driveway to have its picture taken. There is more to that story but I won’t digress. As so often has been the case over the last seven years, we always see more wildlife in our own back yard than on the trail!

Left home 8:25
Started up 9:25Got to lake 11:05Got to ridge 12:48Headed down 1:00Back to lake 1:50
Got to truck 3:05
Total miles hiked 10 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours, 35 minutes

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