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Harrison Lake Hike #409 and 8-year hiking anniversary!

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Harrison Lake Hike #409 and 8-year hiking anniversary!


partly cloudy    70°                   Happy Birthday, America! 


Jul 4, 2011…Harrison lake snow…our 8th year hiking anniversary!... hike #409          

Our first hike back into the mountains after a very long, cold and snowy winter…and also our 8th anniversary of hiking weekly, having missed only about 6 or 7 times. We are well over 2700 miles. I didn’t plan it this way but it turned out that we went back to the very trail which we hiked for the first time, all those many 8 years ago…Harrison Lake! It was quite different on that 4th of July…there was no snow and we walked on bare ground all the way. I have lost count of how many times we have hiked it since, not only just to get to the lake on snowshoes or in the fall to gorge on huckleberries, but to use it as a jumping off point for going off trail and bushwhacking.

We headed up Upper Pack River Rd and snow stopped us at about one half mile from the trail head. Rather than chance getting stuck in soft deep snow, we parked the rig and walked the rest of the way on snowshoes. So much snow still there; we started up on the snowshoes till we began to hit a few patches of bare ground. Took the snowshoes off and Jim strapped them to his pack which slowed him down considerably but it was much easier walking on the now consistently deep snow, with boots. With the load slowing Jim down, we decided to stash the snowshoes and my over boots off under the trees…and marked the spot with some branches so we wouldn’t miss them coming down. Actually it was unlikely that anyone would be hiking here, even though it was a holiday. Not many are as adventurous or as hardy as we are, I guess.

It was hard and slow going, walking on top of the compacted snow, and it seemed forever till we got to our usual snack spot. So much water...all the run-offs were full and raging with angry snowmelt. A few spots were tricky to cross but we had no problems …no one slipped and fell in! This is a relatively short but steep hike and in the summer we can make up and down much faster than we did today.

Snow has an amazing way of disorienting one...the trails always look so different and we got off track at around the usual spot. Winding our way upwards, we finally were able to get to the lake. Some turquoise water was beginning to peek thru the ice and snow covered lake, beautiful as always. We took lots of pics before sitting down for lunch. The slight breeze coming off the water chilled us after hanging out for 25 minutes. It was an uneventful hike back down; we picked up the snowshoes, strapped them back on the pack and dealt okay with the now much faster running water. Not a lot of wildflowers yet and we met no one. While I was expecting some, we did not see one bear print. Out of curiosity, I checked my cell phone but got no service. No surprise.

Left home                    9:00

Parked/left truck         10:15

Started up                   11:00

Got to lake                   1:45

Started down               2:15

Got down                     4:00

Got to truck                 4:30       

Total miles hiked          6 miles

Total hiking time           6 hours, 15 minutes


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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

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