When the weather was forecast earlier this week, and today was predicted to be the hottest of the year so far, folks looked at me like I was whacko when I said that was our next hiking day. I may be whacko for a lot of reasons, but hiking in the heat isn’t one of them, at least not with our Tricky Tricks to beat the heat.
Tricky Trick #1 is to start very early, which is what we do no matter the temperature. It’s how you get a parking spot, have the bulk of your hiking done before the really brutal temps kick in, avoid most other people, and get back home with enough time to soak your feet in the backyard while letting your chickens out on a field trip. Maybe that last one only applies to us, I’m not sure.
Tricky Trick #2 is to choose the right trail. The right trail for us had to include accessible water somewhere near the trailhead, not have a punishing gain, and provide good cover. Owyhigh Lakes fit that bill for all three.
TBGuide makes the right selection.
Tricky Trick #3 is to put your backpack water bladders in the fridge the night before and to put lots of ice cubes in them the morning of. TBG thought of the fridge, I encouraged the ice cubes.
This trail can be accessed a couple different ways, but we chose the path that sent us over a few different water crossings even though it was three miles longer than the other way. One of these crossings was going to be a dunking place on the return trip.
This one looks promising.
Looks scary from this angle, but had some nice possibilities.
Abort! Abort! Not a good choice!
That second crossing had my attention, and I thought the whole rest of the way about exactly where I was going to get my feet in that water when we came back through.
My favorite place.
This bend in the trail had a cool breeze coming up off the waterfall far below. In this photo, you can’t see mountain range upstream, but I decided that this would be the perfect backdrop for our timer photo on the way back.
You might notice that the sky looks a little hazy, and that’s due to all the smoke wafting down from the fires in British Columbia. I think there were air-quality warnings for today. Oopsie.
Where’s THE mountain?
Believe it or not, and you should believe it because it’s true but you don’t have to because you’re free to believe whatever you like, but not all the trails in this park offer views of the namesake mountain.
This trail, after roughly three miles, opened up into the first of several meadow crossings.
Magenta paintbrush meadow.
We kept our eyes peeled for critters, and I sang lots of bear-deterring songs through the brushy sections between the meadows, but we never saw anything more than chipmunks and frogs.
Not long before we reached the lakes, we found this very fresh elk poop in the trail, but elk have Tricky Tricks of their own, and they kept well out of our sight.
I hope you weren’t expecting too much when you saw the word “lakes.” We knew from the trail reports that these lakes aren’t like other alpine lakes and wouldn’t be any sort of cool comfort on this hot day. The above shot is taken from our snack spot.
During our break, a group of four through-hikers passed us, and we exchanged the obligatory trail greetings. They were the only other people we had seen or heard all day. We were happy they were headed the way from which we’d come because we suffered through a zillion of those floaty cobwebs on the way up through the trees, and we were delighted that they’d clear the way for us on the return trip.
So many things to look forward to on the way back! Fewer cobwebs, a beautiful photo backdrop, and a perfect dunking place!
Back from whence we came.
The return journey was mostly a gradual downhill, and we were moving along at a pretty good clip. We reached my favorite place in no time at all, it seemed. The light was decent for our photo op, but there was no good place to secure the little gorilla clip that would allow the camera to capture us and the great view. I had no idea if we’d even gotten a usable photo until we were home.
No mountain backdrop, but it’ll do.
Even in the trees, it was getting quite warm, and I was excited to reach the water crossing to dip our toes and dunk our heads.
Those other people — the only other people — were there in our dunking place! Why hadn’t they gotten further? the voice inside my head lamented, they should be long-gone by now! And what about the cobwebs?!
We smiled and again exchanged greetings as we marched past. Once out of earshot, and again picking cobwebs off my face and arms, I wailed to TBG, “Sometimes I just feel so selfish, and I’m tired of sharing the world all the time!” He said he thought I was wrong about that being the best dunking place, and that it was yet to come.
He was half right.
I had meant to stop at the first one, but this one turned out to be even better.
Just as we were putting our boots back on, The Others trekked through, one of the women remarking that this looked like an even better spot than where they had stopped. That’s right, sister, I thought. Then one of the men chatted with us as if he had never seen us before, which was quite odd. I was just glad they were going to be ahead of us again to clear the rest of the cobwebs away.
The last half mile is a straight climb back out, and it was almost enough, especially with the heat, to erase all the goodness of the dunking place.