Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last Hike Before Winter becomes FIRST Hike OF Winter!

South Fork of Eagle River
Taken from South Fork Bridge, about 2 miles from the parking lot

 We have had a terribly wet summer and autumn, so when the weather has been nice we've been busy getting the outside of my mom's house ready for winter.  No hiking or enjoying the Alaskan outdoors.

The forecast this weekend was sun and highs in the 40 Saturday, with snow moving in Sunday.

Looking out over the valley, still hoping the
low clouds burn off.
Dennis and I had been talking of hiking to Symphony Lake before the snow falls, so decided this was the weekend to do it.
My summer hiking partner, Rosemary, called with the same idea: let's get out on the trails before the snow falls!  She and her husband joined Dennis and I for our last hike before winter.

It was a very brisk morning, was hoping the weather man would pull through with the sun and warm temps, but Dennis and I packed for the worse, "just in case."  Very little is worse than being cold and wet on a hike, especially a long one into the wilds of Alaska!

Rosemary and I hiking almost to the South Fork Bridge
No one was surprised when I announced there were geocache's along the trail and I had down loaded them to my gps!  So....our first "stop" was at the bridge to find a geocache.

Rosemary, Scott, and myself at the South Fork Bridge geocache.
Snow was just beginning to fall (we were still trying to
convince ourselves the sun would burn off the clouds).
The bridge just less than half way to Symphony Lake, and a nice stop, and a very quick geocache find!
We continued on, still no sun, but we were having a great time, snow had just begin to fall before we reached the bridge.  It really was beautiful out there!  Gorgeous, big snow flakes fell.

We continued on, should have turned back, but we wanted to get to out destination, Symphony Lake. 

No one ever wants to be THAT person to call UNCLE, and someone really should have.

Standing on the moraine between Eagle Lake and Symphony Lake.
Though not obvious in this picture, most of the rocks were HUGE, and
covered with a couple inches of wet, slippery snow!
We reached Eagle Lake and traversed the bridge to the huge rock moraine, and began winding our way over the rocks, following the cairns.  We were 0.4 mile (as the crow flies) for the destination, but the rocks were hard to traverse, I had twisted my knee crawling over a large rock, it was hurting, but I was not going to tell anyone, and I soldier on until, jointly, we all agreed it was time to turn around!

We hoofed it pretty hard, and after about 2 miles of pretty fast walking, I ran out of steam.   Poor Scott was chilled, so he kept on marching on, but there was no way I could keep that pace for the remaining 3 miles!

We stopped at the bridge again, for a quick bite, and then continued on.  The Snow was over the top of the toes of my boots, we guessed 3 to 4 inches.  Scott, cold, but just not willing to admit it to us, couldn't stand the slow pace I had to go.

I guess I'm not as young as I thought I was.  I just kept chugging along, getting slower and slower.  Dennis convinced me to let him carry my pack (about 10 pounds), and it made a huge difference.

Our "last hike before winter" became our "first hike of winter."  It was beautiful, despite the pain, I'd do it again!  I want to hike back there next summer, with a tent, and spend the night!!!!!!

We estimated we hiked 10 miles.  I'm feeling a little stiff, but nothing like I was when we got home last night!

I did bring Dennis's socks, but it wasn't one of our hikes where we sit and chat, enjoy the scenery.

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