Matt is usually known for being a morning person. He gets up at 6:00 am almost every day. But today seemed to be the exception. He didn’t wake up until 10:00 am, when Morgan decided to yell into our tent to get our lazy butts up. By the time we had all cooked breakfast and packed up our tents and backpacks it was 12:00 pm. This was the first time where I realized when you travel with a large group of people (because when you are out in the back country, six people are considered quite a bit) it takes a long time to get everything organized! It’s kind of a gong shot attempting to make sure everyone has eaten, filled their hydration packs and packed up. But everyone was so laid back on this trip that it made it kind of fun (except for Morgan- she was the worst).
We continued along the trail, moving through the valley and across a stream.
After 1 km, we began to climb up Boulder Pass. This is where a lot of the elevation is gained. It was a beautiful and unique area that lives up to its name because of all of the past rock slides that have happened in this area.
There is a giant boulder right at the top of the pass that is perfect for stopping for lunch.
While we sat, we were paid a visit by various pika and chipmunks.
Once we took our break, we continued on a few hundred feet before finally spotting Ptarmigan Lake. The lake itself is huge, surrounded on all sides by gorgeous mountains(including Ptarmigan Peak, Pika Peak and Fossil Mountain). There was still a bit of snow surrounding the base of the lake (here and there) which was expected since it was still early in the season
We took various pictures and then followed the trail along the west side of the lake. The trail begins to braid around this area and several times we had a hard time figuring out which path to take. But as long as you continue to walk along the lake (no matter how close you are to the lake itself), you are going the right direction. In addition, some parts of the trail were flooded by the lake itself so we had to do a bit of rock hopping.
As we were making our way around the lake, we had the fortune of spotting a lone hoary marmot sitting atop a rock a short distance away from us. It was the first time any of us had ever seen one so we were pretty excited!
Once we reached the end of Ptarmigan Lake, we quickly came up to the intersection of Deception Pass and Baker Lake.
We continued on straight towards Baker Lake, heading in the direction of Fossil Mountain.
We walked among a meadow-type area until we finally spotted Baker Lake in the distance.
Once we saw Baker Lake, we began a slow descent back into the trees. It can get quite steep at times so we made sure to watch our footing, especially because it was muddy.
The downhill became a bit of a problem for Kim as she began to realize that her boots were too narrow in the toes and it started getting painful for her to descend. So we moved slowly, watching as the sky above us began to cloud over. Because of this, when we reached Baker Lake it was more of a bland grey than the usual blue. The mountain lake was still beautiful as we started to walk along the west side of it towards our campsite (which sits at the far side of the lake) through shrubs and bushes.
The campsite itself is on a small treed hill overlooking the lake. A lot of people have complained about the fact that the tent pads are so close together.
That didn’t bother me very much but I do wish the bear poles were located somewhere else. At the moment, they are down the hill and it’s a bit of an excursion getting from the campsite to the poles after a long day of hiking (or maybe I’m just lazy). There are two outhouses at this campsite, neither in very good condition. Despite this, the place was still incredibly wonderful and probably my favorite stop because of location alone Something about hearing the waves from the lake hit against the rocks is incredibly soothing.
People aren’t kidding when they say the mosquitoes are awful here. It was insane! If you sat still for even ten seconds, you would be covered in mosquitoes. We promptly put on our bug shirts and started cooking dinner.
The dinner break gave Kim the opportunity to see the damage to her foot. Luckily, we brought enough mole skin to cover up her blisters. But this also led us to re-think our hiking plan. While we had been planning to take the long way to Merlin Meadows, we realized with Kim’s foot, it would probably be better to take the shorter route. So Matt and I took our map out and re-routed our hiking trip.
Later on, several of us walked down to the lake and washed some of our clothes (which would prove to be a mistake later on).
Not too long after we all had finished with our chores, we were forced to run to our tents as a storm began to blow in quickly. We ended up being forced to hunker down in our tents for the rest of the night as it continued to rain every few hours for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, that also made it hard for us to dry out our previously washed clothes so we had to put them in garbage bags and hope that it would be a sunnier tomorrow!