Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 3, Moraine Lake

This was slated to be a short day of about 7 miles of hiking with the first couple climbing switchbacks several hundred feet and then a longer gradual descent through forests and open meadows to the large lake. As such we were slow to rise and get on the trail I think it was near 9:30AM when I left camp (remember Andy, Kobrad, and I didn't arrive at camp last night until just after 9:00PM so a late start was good anyway). The climb stretches over a couple miles and probably rises near 1,000 feet. Like everything here it is sprinkled with stream crossing so you need not carry much water if you so desire. In fact Andy and Konrad just carry half liter flashs and would guzzle an extra half liter at water stops. I don't recall the climb having anything memorable along it. No great sights , sounds, or scents. Yes, I said scents. It was, as a single example, great to walk through patches of mint as we plodded out and up from Hamilton Lake.

 I would leapfrog with Abdy and Konrad for the next couple hours as we worked our way over the mountain. By noon I had topped out and they caught up to me 15 minutes later. That would be our pattern for the day. When I caught up to them an hour or so later we settled down by a small creek for a lazy lunch (photo). It was after this I would meet the mule train. It was also after this that my bowels started to have some issues that were just annoying because of lack of warning (enough said). That would slow me down and make our final arrival a bit later than it would otherwise have been. Those last couple dusty miles to the lake were a drag.

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Moraine Lake is surrounded by pleasant forest and good campsites. Too bad it didn't have a vault toilet like we had at Hamilton. But this lake is emmenently swimmable and sp a fine place to wash trail grime away and at least feel like you might be clean. I was feeling a bit conked so I don't have photos to share but as the sun set the colors changed to deep orange and the lake refkected lovely alpine scenery. I think I have been to more picturesque lakes but this is a very fine camping area indeed.
 
We would end our might again with a campfire. One advantage of having hikers like Adam and Matt along is that they get into camp so early they have time to do camp tasks like find goood firewood thus allowing those of us who arrive later to enjoy a fire I doubt we would ever bother to build. Falling asleep with a riding moon shining into my shelter was a treat.
 
 ** Ken **
 
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