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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Senior Hiking #368 - Fault Lake Trail

58° - 63° Sunny

Aug 30, 2010…Fault Lake Tr # 59…(15th time)
…hike # 368 by Betsy

All week the weatherman kept saying it was going to rain today but when we woke to partly cloudy skies, we decided to chance it to Fault Lake, normally a very hot, very exposed and always long hike. I love this hike in late August just because of the abundance of huckleberries, with their brilliantly red fall colors. I packed my new little digital voice recorder in my shorts pocket for taking notes.

There was no one at the trailhead nor did we meet anyone all day. Since it was quite chilly when we started out, I put my jacket on, with hood up and gloves on. We crossed the river over the rocks and logs without incident...real easy at this time of year…and began up. The sun was out and what started out as welcome warmth soon became a blast furnace, even at 58°. Not only due to the heat and starting out too fast up the steep slope, I soon succumbed to fatigue and overheating. My energy level dropped to the ground…now it was my turn to bonk. We traveled slowly with lots of rests in the shade…then we both ate a Gu-Gel for energy and this seemed to help. I had been running on low all week so I thought that had a lot to do with it. After 1½ hours at Gunsight Creek, Jim said that we could turn around and as inviting as this sounded, I pursued, thinking that I might turn around soon enough and that there was no way I was ever going to make it to the lake. The second part of this hike is well out and exposed in the hot open sun.
I began to feel somewhat revived…and mercifully the sun went behind the clouds. This helped so much. My rhythm came back some what and while not at full speed, I now knew I could make it to the lake.

There were absolutely no huckleberries till we reached a high elevation and even those, while small, were not plentiful. These bushes were sheltered by hovering pines, offering protection from that early spring freeze. Higher up still, we found a handful of bushes that were quite laden and we feasted while thinking about the poor bears. Always watchful for bears up in the rocks, as per our record…we saw none! What was lacking in huckleberries was made up for in wildflowers…so much white Pearly Everlasting, pink Fireweed and red Indian Paintbrush, with a lot of yellow Tansy thrown in for good measure. After almost a long 3½ hours we reached the lake. Without sunshine, the water lacked the gorgeous blue green color. We moved to the end of the lake for lunch to get out of the wind which was picking up…and yes, it was jacket time again.

Jim decided not to dive in today as he did last year! Skies were turning black and we didn’t linger too long…plus we knew it was going to be a long hard hike down. We made it almost to the end before we got rained on, but not enough to dig out the raingear. Thunder could be heard toward the east over the Cabinet Mountains, and I thought I saw one bolt of lightning. Just as we were driving out, the rain came down quite a bit harder…made it out just in time.

Left home 8:15Started up 9:15
Got to lake 12:55 (3 hours, 25 minutes)
Started down 1:20
Got to truck 4:10 (2 hours, 50 minutes)
Total miles hiked 15 miles
Total hiking time 6 hours, 40 minutes

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