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Harrison Lake Trail #217 (2011)

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Hike #427

snow showers      24 °        

Nov 7, 2011…Harrison Lake in first snow …Tr #217 …hike # 427        

With snow predicted for the mountains, we couldn’t resist heading back up, while we still can access the trail heads. Soon the roads will all be closed and impassable due to deep snow. We decided on Harrison because Beehive and Chimney Rock had a good chance of having lots of ice especially on the steep granite parts. As we drove we began to see more and more snow not only along the sides of the road but on the road itself…and falling snowflakes. Lots of animal tracks...one of the nice things about winter…you get to realize just how much animal activity there is!

There had been a lot of activity on the trail over the weekend as evidenced by the many boot prints. The snow got deeper and deeper as we climbed, and the temperature also dropped. Thankfully there was not much of a breeze. The light snow falling was covering the thick ice underneath…we had to be very careful to not slip. All the standing water was frozen solid.

The frozen lake was shrouded in low clouds and mist, and Harrison Peak was not even faintly visible. Took pictures and huddled under the big overhead rock to get out of wind and the falling snow. The lake must have frozen while wind was blowing as the water in the pics looked like rolling waves! It was getting very cold by now as we ate our lunch and had hot chocolate. My nose and my toes were freezing and I decide to put the light wool gloves inside the big warm mitts with HotHands for the trip down. This worked really well for me but not so for Jim. Started down and we both got cold. Once we got past most of the dangerous snow and ice covered granite, walking got easier but we still needed to be vigilant of the ice under the dry snow.

As we were cruising along, with me in the lead, I spotted something strange up ahead which appeared to be a large dead tree judging by the color and shape. I stopped short and in a nanosecond realized it was a HUGE bull elk! As it spotted us, it ran off but I turned around to Jim and yelled…Did you see that???? He saw it too and thought the same as I...that it was tree! That was a treat for us.

Then still merrily cruising along, I heard the dreaded' yell from hell' from Jim…I turned around and he was on the ground. He slipped on a fairly big piece of ice which of course he didn’t see because of the snow. After letting me know he was okay and to warn me not to talk to him, he slowly got himself back up on to his feet. 

Left home                    9:00

Got to T.H.                  10:00

Started up                   10:00

Got to lake                   12:00  (2 hours)

Started down               12:20              

Got to truck                 2:00  (1 hour, 40 minutes)    

Total miles hiked          6 miles

Total hiking time           4 hours

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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.

Tagged as:

elk, hiking, Beehive, Harrison lake, Chimney Rock

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