Smoke-free, but the clouds, fog, and rain rolled in. About 50 cars in the lot at about 11AM. Hiked up to Snow Lake and on to Gem Lake, and towards Wright Mountain SE Peak, looking for a pair of Revos I left filtering water back on July 4th with hiking pal Chris Massot. I bushwacked using my previous GPX route, but the glasses were not found. Very few people on the trail, people were camped at the 2nd day use site which is prohibited, and at Gem Lake a party of about 8 with 3 tents has a campfire which is prohibited in the lake basin and also during the current burn ban. Come on people – WTF? I declined getting into a discussion given I was solo, but its such a shame to see such blatant disregard for the ALW and the environment given the current conditions.
Onto more positive aspects – the trail from the 2nd-day use site at Snow Lake to Gem Lake is becoming one of my favorites. There is great lake scenery, small tarns. bonsai-like gardens, beautiful trees, super views of Snow Lake as you ascend the trail to Gem Lake. The variation of the terrain you encounter as the trail winds its way around large rock formations, and up to the Gem Lake basin is just stunning, even on a cloudy, rainy day like today.
About half the way up to Gem Lake, the huckleberries were out in abundance, and on the slopes above Gem Lake towards the small basin at Wright SW Mountain above the camping areas were completely covered in ripe berries. I had aspirations of bagging Mount Roosevelt, but the weather, rain, and wind make that an adventure for a future date. Upon the return, the skies opened up and the rains dumped down, making the trail down from the ridge above Snow Lake a small river. This is a great trail for inclement weather, as the clouds often make for great scenery, and the mist playing amongst the peaks makes you feel like you are in the Misty Mountains of The Hobbit.