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tigermn
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tigermn
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PostFri Aug 06, 2010 10:04 pm 
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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.

Crystal Peak/Lakes area map.
1 label
Crystal Peak/Lakes area map.

Summary:

- 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.

Start of Crystal Lake trail.
Start of Crystal Lake trail.
Water at start of Crystal Lake trail.
Water at start of Crystal Lake trail.

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.

Early Crystal Lake trail.
Early Crystal Lake trail.
Early partial view from Crystal Lake trail.
Early partial view from Crystal Lake trail.

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.

Fork in the trail. Right goes to Crystal Peak, straight continues to Crystal Lakes. Right it is.
Fork in the trail. Right goes to Crystal Peak, straight continues to Crystal Lakes. Right it is.

The nice creek is crossed shortly past the junction.

Creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail shortly after fork.
Creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail shortly after fork.
Creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail shortly after fork.
Creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail shortly after fork.

Just past you cross an open area as a teaser before going back in the woods.

Views from avalanche area just past creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail.
Views from avalanche area just past creek crossing on Crystal Peak trail.
Back in the forest on Crystal Peak trail.
Back in the forest on Crystal Peak trail.

The trail traverses up through the woods as it climbs. You start to get some views.

Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.
Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.
Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.
Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.
Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.
Views begin to open up on Crystal Peak trail.

The higher you go the more open the views. Flowers also started to appear more.

Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Glacier Lily perhaps.
Glacier Lily perhaps.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Orange Paintbrush on Crystal Peak trail.
Orange Paintbrush on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.

The trail heads S/SE before switchbacking sharply back towards the peak.
Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.

More flowers, views and sites.

Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Bird above Crystal Peak trail.
Bird above Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Views from Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Pink Paintbrush on Crystal Peak trail.
Pink Paintbrush on Crystal Peak trail.
Aster on Crystal Peak trail.
Aster on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.
Flowers on Crystal Peak trail.

The trail was 100% snow free. You can see a spot where it was only a recent melt off.

Views of remnant snow from Crystal Peak trail.
Views of remnant snow from Crystal Peak trail.

After about an hour and 45 minutes I was at the site of the old lookout. Not much left.

Old lookout site on Crystal Peak.
Old lookout site on Crystal Peak.
Trail heading up to Crystal Peak summit.
Trail heading up to Crystal Peak summit.
Trail heading up to Crystal Peak summit.
Trail heading up to Crystal Peak summit.

The easy trail continues to the true summit with 360 degree views. Unfortunately it was hazy so the pictures weren't the best.

Views from Crystal Peak summit.
Views from Crystal Peak summit.
Views of Crystal Lake from Crystal Peak summit.
Views of Crystal Lake from Crystal Peak summit.
Views from Crystal Peak summit.
Views from Crystal Peak summit.
View of trail below where last snow must have just melted
View of trail below where last snow must have just melted
Views from Crystal Peak summit.
Views from Crystal Peak summit.
Crystal Peak summit.
Crystal Peak summit.

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.

Looking down from Crystal Peak summit area.
Looking down from Crystal Peak summit area.
Old lookout site and flowers on Crystal Peak.
Old lookout site and flowers on Crystal Peak.

The trip down was as lonely as the trip up. Saw no one.

My footprints in the dust on Crystal Peak trail.
My footprints in the dust on Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.
Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Views heading down Crystal Peak trail.
Remnants of beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Remnants of beargrass on Crystal Peak trail.
Red Elderberry?
Red Elderberry?
Some type of berry.
Some type of berry.
Views from avalanche area on Crystal Peak trail.
Views from avalanche area on Crystal Peak trail.

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.

Back to Crystal Peak/Lake junction. Lake it is.
Back to Crystal Peak/Lake junction. Lake it is.
Views from Crystal Lakes trail.
Views from Crystal Lakes trail.
Crystal Lakes trail stairs.
Crystal Lakes trail stairs.

The trail climbs and starts to get into more flowers.

Lupine on Crystal Lake trail.
Lupine on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Butterflies on Crystal Lake trail (literally).
Butterflies on Crystal Lake trail (literally).

I would stop for a quick look at lower crystal lake. No one was camping there.

Lower Crystal Lake.
Lower Crystal Lake.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.
Flowers on Crystal Lake trail.

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.

Arriving at Crystal Lake.
Arriving at Crystal Lake.

I would head around the lake clockwise to circumnavigate the lake.  There is a trail of sorts around it.

Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.

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!

Tricky part of trail to circumnavigate Crystal Lake.
Tricky part of trail to circumnavigate Crystal Lake.

I continued on around passing through the campsites. The women and girls were obviously set up at site #2.

Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.
Flowers at Crystal Lake.
Flowers at Crystal Lake.
Campsite #2 at Crystal Lake.
Campsite #2 at Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake campsite #1.
Crystal Lake campsite #1.

I would find a log near site #1 to eat lunch with the towel out to swat skeeters.

Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Zoom of people across Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Zoom of people across Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.

While I was eating another party would arrive and park on a rock across the way.

Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Crystal Lake from my lunch spot.
Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake.

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.

Flowers below Crystal lake.
Flowers below Crystal lake.
Flowers at Flowers below Crystal lake. lake.
Flowers at Flowers below Crystal lake. lake.
Lower Crystal lake.
Lower Crystal lake.
Views on Crystal Lake trail.
Views on Crystal Lake trail.

Further down I would run across a forest ranger heading up.

Armed forest ranger heading up Crystal Lake trail.
Armed forest ranger heading up Crystal Lake trail.

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.

Lower Crystal Lake trail.
Lower Crystal Lake trail.
Lower Crystal Lake trail.
Lower Crystal Lake trail.
Lower Crystal Lake trail.
Lower Crystal Lake trail.

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.

--------------
My flickr photo site.
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