Once a year Gwen and I get out for an extended trip. This year it worked out to only be the long weekend over labor day; easily the single most popular weekend for backpackers and campers alike.The forecast was for showers the first day, some wind, 40 degree nights, and clearing by the third day. Not bad really if you have moderate protection and breaks in the storms.Ice Lakes sit at around 7,000′ and are accessed either by a mind numbing dozen mile forested walk or a switchback lacking climb over a scree strewn high pass. We chose the later and up we went. Into the mist. Kicking a steady pace up the old miner’s trail fueled by images of a poor tent site, we dropped other parties left and right. Folks whom I suspect were actually less physically taxed than mentally. Gwen and I had been up this trail before and were prepared for the sweet agony.What we weren’t really prepared for was the ensuing chill, damp, and then gale force conditions. The utter lack of other tents was ominous and might have clued us in that others perhaps did know more than us, after all.But, then again, even amongst the brutal discomfort, there were moments of the sublime! After wondering all night whether our tent poles were going to snap, we awoke to clearer skies, but bitter wind. For a couple of tenuous hours we hemmed and hawed about whether to pack it up and what we could do for the shivering doggies if we did stay another night.
Finally we decided to do both. Stay and move camp to a more sheltered site behind an outcropping. Also wrapping the poodle in goose down seemed to do the trick! Then, off galavanting this paradise we went:
After circumnavigating the lower lake, we even had a break in the wind to enjoy some downtime!Then after another night of imagining ourselves paragliding back to civilization, the forecast was finally accurate. Namely the clearing part. And the hike out was stunning and perhaps made all the lovelier given the tumult we had endured.