Joined: 10 Jul 2007 Posts: 8314 | TRs | Pics Location: On the other side...
Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:04 pm
Crystal Peak/Lakes 08/06/2010
Not having seen a recent report on Crystal Peak or Lakes I decided to head up to Crystal Peak then over to the lakes and check it out. I had last been to the lakes last October and the peak last July.
- 100% snow free in case anyone was wondering.
- Bugs: non biting files on Crystal Peak, Biting skeeters at the Lake but repellent kept them at bay. Still annoying buzzing around.
- Views not as good as they could have been due to haze.
- Flowers out in force. Some have peaked it appears (beargrass for instance), others are peaking and some not out yet.
- Temps just perfect for hiking uphill and not cold when you stopped.
- For about 3 hours I didn't see a single person. After that only 3 parties and a ranger.
- I rambled just under 12 miles and about 4250 feet of climbing for this trip.
Started up around 08:45AM. There were a couple of cars in the parking area but that was about it.
The lower trail to the junction is much as any typical 800 foot per mile trail in the forest might be with a few sneak views on the way.
At the fork I would head right for Crystal Peak. I still had not seen a single person yet, nor would I until almost back to this junction on the return from the peak.
The nice creek is crossed shortly past the junction.
Just past you cross an open area as a teaser before going back in the woods.
The trail traverses up through the woods as it climbs. You start to get some views.
The higher you go the more open the views. Flowers also started to appear more.
The trail heads S/SE before switchbacking sharply back towards the peak.
More flowers, views and sites.
The trail was 100% snow free. You can see a spot where it was only a recent melt off.
After about an hour and 45 minutes I was at the site of the old lookout. Not much left.
The easy trail continues to the true summit with 360 degree views. Unfortunately it was hazy so the pictures weren't the best.
I would eat a snack but save my lunch for the lakes later. The flies started to wake up a little but weren't too bothersome.
The trip down was as lonely as the trip up. Saw no one.
Shortly after crossing the creek I would see my first 2 people of the day heading up to the peak. Back at the junction I would head for the lakes.
The trail climbs and starts to get into more flowers.
I would stop for a quick look at lower crystal lake. No one was camping there.
Soon enough I was at the main lake. I could see people way on the other side. Turns out would be two women and two girls enjoying the water.
I would head around the lake clockwise to circumnavigate the lake. There is a trail of sorts around it.
There was one slight pain in the arse section where the shoreline turned to rocks and you had to skirt around some lingering snow and up a short bank. I ended up stepping in the lake but no harm no foul. An one wonders why have Gortex boots in the summer!
I continued on around passing through the campsites. The women and girls were obviously set up at site #2.
I would find a log near site #1 to eat lunch with the towel out to swat skeeters.
While I was eating another party would arrive and park on a rock across the way.
Just staying long enough to eat because of the bugs I would head down shortly. It was nicer in October when the bugs were all gone.
Heading out I would catch a few pictures.
Further down I would run across a forest ranger heading up.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and in fact I didn't see a single other person heading up the trail on my way down.
Back to the car after another successful/enjoyable trip. Enough flowers to keep the interest/make up for the hazy but OK views. On a crystal (pun intended) clear day the views from the summit are spectacular! I will likely return in fall.
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