Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ordeal of the Raindrops:  Rachel & Rampart Lakes, 11/12/07
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4046 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 3:20 am 
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(Drip, drip drip)  Brrrrr.  Shiver.  “Uhhh, this is awful.”
(Slip, slide)  Grunt.   Moan.  “Oof.  Ugh, even worse.”.
(Sleeting downpour of rain)  (Howling roar of wind)  Stagger.  Whimper.
“ Ugh, no more, please.  Ouch.  Groan.  Oh, yuck, yikes, OW! "


That’s what my pained exclamations sounded like on this trip.  Or would sound like, if you could hear me at all over the freight-train loud roar of the wind through the trees overhead.  Or even see me through the slanting curtains of cold rain.

The conditions around me, and my own expressions, were almost opposite of the ideal from my Ecstasy of the Larches trip last month.

Fortunately, the wind was mostly roaring through the treetops overhead and not hitting me.  Only an occasional gust knocked me to my knees.

However, the wind-blown sleeting rain did me much worse injury – it damaged my photos.  No matter how I tried to shield the camera, it kept hitting the lens and distorted the photos.  When I downloaded the photos, I thought I’d have to delete the first half of them, when the rain was worst, but then I realized that they actually express very well the whole blurred, smeary feeling of the setting.

Rain-blurred Lake 2
1 label
Rain-blurred Lake 2
Rain-blurred Lake 5
Rain-blurred Lake 5

But still, even so, the lakes were beautiful.  The patterns of snow, ice, and water were simply fascinating, unique and different on every lake. Each lake had its shape outlined in gray ice, highlighted by swirls and curves of white snow atop the ice, and accented by occasional dark depths of open water.  Even the mist and rain added a special mystery and wonder to the place, allowing each lake to be revealed only through shrouding curtains of moisture, a mystical hidden world unto itself, with all else fading away into the surrounding clouds.  Their spell was so compelling that I didn’t even stop to rest the whole time I was there, circling and zigzagging between the lakes to see from every vantage I could before the short day withdrew the lakes back into darkness.

Lake 5
Lake 5
Lake 6 outlet
Lake 6 outlet
Lake 6 center
Lake 6 center
Lake 7
Lake 7
Lake 8
Lake 8
Lakes 9 & 6
Lakes 9 & 6
Lake 6 north
Lake 6 north

So here’s the story:

I wasn’t an auspicious start.  No one else was interested, so I went by myself.  I slept late and didn’t reach the trailhead till 10:30.  I took the longer way in via Rachel Lake since I’d been there before.  Total overcast.  Rising freezing level.  Falling rain.  High wind warnings.

But I really wanted to go check out the lakes at this time of year, when they’re freezing over but not buried in snow yet.  The Going to Good Places Over & Over thread inspired me.  I liked the idea of revisting a place in a variety of different seasons and conditions.  I figured the lakes would look interesting even on a rainy day.

Apparently no one else in the world shared my interest.  My car put in the only set of tracks through the snow on the Box Canyon road.   I hiked to Rachel Lake under dripping skies and dripping trees, wishing it would get colder so the rain would turn to snow.  The creek was still flowing strongly over the waterfalls along the trail.

Lonely tracks on the Box Creek Road
Lonely tracks on the Box Creek Road
Waterfall along the trail
Waterfall along the trail
The Picnic Waterfall, where everyone likes to stop for a break in summer
The Picnic Waterfall, where everyone likes to stop for a break in summer

The wind was blasting across the wide open surface of Rachel Lake.  The strongest gusts not only raised whitecaps, but even tore the tops off the waves into flying spray.

Waves on Rachel Lake
Waves on Rachel Lake
Whitecaps & spray on Rachel Lake
Whitecaps & spray on Rachel Lake

Above Rachel lake it was actually calmer, until the ridge crest.  The snow was also packed firm, so progress was surprisingly easy.  On the ridge, the wind was racing through the  treetops but mostly stayed off of me.  It was mainly a mental distraction, howling so loud that I sometimes wanted to just plug my ears.

When I got to Rampart Lakes, I was puzzled.  The map shows six lakes, but I ran into dozens of smaller tarns.  Back at home, I looked up an aerial view on Virtual Earth so I could track where I went.  Since I don’t know names for the lakes, I numbered them in the order that I reached them.

Aerial view of my course around Rampart Lakes
Aerial view of my course around Rampart Lakes

I reached a little hilltop tarn, with a larger tarn in sight beyond.  I was in luck.  The gray icy surface of the lakes highlighted their irregular shorelines in contrast to the surrounding white snow and dark trees.  However, I couldn’t keep the blowing rain entirely off my lens, and I couldn’t find anything dry enough in my pack to get it dry.  So the photos for awhile were as blurry as the day.

Tarn 0
Tarn 0
Tarn 1
Tarn 1

Tarn 2 was even better.  Various islands and circles of snow decorated the gray background ice.  The photos were even blurrier.

Tarn 2 from the north side
Tarn 2 from the north side
Tarn 2 from the west side
Tarn 2 from the west side

Tarn 3 had multiple swirls and circles of snow on its gray surface.

Tarn 3
Tarn 3

To the east, a small creek offered multiple pools stretching north and south.  The rain was finally turning to snow.

Looking north along pools on Creek 4
Looking north along pools on Creek 4
Looking south to bigger tarns on Creek 4
Looking south to bigger tarns on Creek 4
Bigger tarns on Creek 4 during a brief clear spell
Bigger tarns on Creek 4 during a brief clear spell

It kept getting better.  I hit Lake 5, the easternmost lake shown on the map.  You could call it “Waterfall Lake” since a pretty waterfall feeds it from Lake 6.  On this day, I’d call it “Target Lake” for the bright white circle of snow centered among rings of darker ice and water.

And I finally found something dry in my pack to clean my lens – my toilet paper safely packed away inside a plastic bag.  Now I could keep the lens dry for at least a couple photos at a time.  If you look close at the pictures, you can actually see the rain/snow slanting across the trees and making steaks in the foreground.

Lake 5 Waterfall
Lake 5 Waterfall
Lake 5 Waterfall Closeup
Lake 5 Waterfall Closeup
Lake 5 Target looking southward down the lake
Lake 5 Target looking southward down the lake
Lake 5 Target looking northward up the lake
Lake 5 Target looking northward up the lake

I followed the waterfall up to Lake 6, which I’ll call “Christmas Card Lake,” because a 1994 photo of the lake was so pretty that I put it on my Christmas cards.  At the lake’s outlet, a shallow open pool formed a foreground for the wider frozen lake.  Out on the ice, the snow patterns formed curving arms like old runes

Outlet of Lake 6
Outlet of Lake 6
Closeup of Lake 6 Outlet
Closeup of Lake 6 Outlet
Snow  & Ice Patterns on Lake 6
Snow  & Ice Patterns on Lake 6
Water & Ice at Inlet of Lake 6
Water & Ice at Inlet of Lake 6
Heading Upstream to Lake 7
Heading Upstream to Lake 7

I’ve always thought of Lake 7 as “Zen Lake” because at its north end is a small round island with two small trees that looks like something from a zen garden.

Lake 7
Lake 7
Zen Lake
Zen Lake
Zen Island
Zen Island

Lake 8 is a long lake with two pools, separated by a narrow section with an island at the center.  The south end had a few small circles of open water with cracks radiating outward.  The north end had thinner and thinner layers of ice stretching out to an expanse of open water rippled by the wind.

Lake 8 south
Lake 8 south
Lake 8 Center Island
Lake 8 Center Island
Tarn and Lake 8 north
Tarn and Lake 8 north
Wind hitting Lake 8 north
Wind hitting Lake 8 north

Lake 9 was a small oblong tarn nestled atop the hill between lakes 8 and 6.  From the hilltop, Lakes 9 & 6 made a really cool terraced combo.

Lake 9
Lake 9
Lakes 9 & 6
Lakes 9 & 6

Circling around the north end of Lake 6, the snow here formed large squarish patterns.

Lake 6 from the north
Lake 6 from the north
Lake 6 from the north
Lake 6 from the north

Then I headed back down across Creek 10, the main outlet stream, speckled with snowy boulders.

Back at Tarn 2, I paused for my first summit tea (okay, tarn tea) of the winter.

Tarn 2
Tarn 2
Matt at Tarn 2
Matt at Tarn 2
Tarn Tea
Tarn Tea

The hike out was the slushiest I’ve experienced.  The fresh snow had trapped the warm rain to form a completely saturated layer of slush that I splashed through all the way down.

When I went to bed at the end of the day, I reveled at how good it felt to have dry clothes and warm blankets.  But I still feel asleep smiling at the fascinating shapes of the lakes while their images played in review across my memory.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 4:40 am 
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Nice!  up.gif  up.gif Looks like you had a good time even if the weather didn't cooperate. wink.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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yukon222
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yukon222
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PostThu Nov 22, 2007 7:34 am 
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Fun trip report to read and see!  What, you didn't want to extend it further and see Lake 8c and 8d?   hockeygrin.gif Thanks for the aerial view of your track.  up.gif  Looks like plenty of photo opportunities, especially if the weather cooperates.
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 9:20 am 
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Matthew, I don't see any pics of you having ice axed your way through the ice and gone swimming?

Hmm?

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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More Cowbell
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More Cowbell
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PostThu Nov 22, 2007 9:26 am 
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How come you only took 2 color photos?   dizzy.gif

Nice B&W shots but it sounds effing miserable up there.
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Phil
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Phil
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PostThu Nov 22, 2007 9:40 am 
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I think those rain-blurred shots look cool!   Good work  up.gif
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Tim and Angel
Angel now an Angel



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
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Tim and Angel
Angel now an Angel
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 9:42 am 
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up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  Awesome trip report. This was a true work of art. Applause!

I will probably visit this place in the spring or so. smile.gif
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Scrooge
Famous Grouse



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Scrooge
Famous Grouse
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 9:54 am 
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I'm beginning to think it's the photographer, rather than the camera.       wink.gif         Nice pics, Matt, and a great report.

But boy do you look cold and wet in that selfportrait.         eek.gif

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Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!



Joined: 06 Jul 2003
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 11:49 am 
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What..no naked swimming pics?  winksmile.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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GeoTom
Custom Title



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PostThu Nov 22, 2007 11:53 am 
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It was agonizing to read this TR Matt.  hockeygrin.gif

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silly_traveler
~ roaming ~



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silly_traveler
~ roaming ~
PostThu Nov 22, 2007 12:01 pm 
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hairy.gif

Very purdie!  up.gif

ActionBetty wrote:
What..no naked swimming pics?  winksmile.gif

crazy.gif

hockeygrin.gif

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♫ You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  And you're the one who will decide where you'll go.  Oh the places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss
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silence
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silence
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PostThu Nov 22, 2007 7:21 pm 
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VERY nice Matt! You've got some winners there. up.gif
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the Zachster
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PostSat Nov 24, 2007 6:01 pm 
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Really nice job describing the place in photographs. I'm getting cold just looking at those...BRRRRRR!

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Nov 28, 2007 2:46 am 
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yukon222 wrote:
What, you didn't want to extend it further and see Lake 8c and 8d?   hockeygrin.gif

Lakes 8c & 8d, extended on 11/23
Lakes 8c & 8d, extended on 11/23

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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kleet
meat tornado



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kleet
meat tornado
PostWed Nov 28, 2007 8:14 am 
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Quote:
Brrrrr.  Shiver.  Uhhh, this is awful.
Grunt.  Moan.  Oof.  Ugh, even worse.
Stagger.  Whimper.
Ugh, no more, please.  Ouch.  Groan.  Oh, yuck, yikes, OW!

Christ.  It's like you had a tape recorder on my honeymoon.

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A fuxk, why do I not give one?
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ordeal of the Raindrops:  Rachel & Rampart Lakes, 11/12/07
  Happy Birthday mtnrider, PetDrAndrea, Quest for Adrenaline, hikejon!
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