Thursday, June 20, 2019

June 20 – Bench Lakes Trail

After all the great weather we have been having, today was wild. When we got up it was cloudy and 2C outside. The forecast called for partly sunny with some rain in the afternoon. That was not quite right. We went from cloudy to sunny to snowing like crazy and back so many times that I lost count. I don’t think we have ever hiked in a snow squall before.

We hiked the Bench Lake Trail near Redfish Lake today. We knew that we wouldn’t feel like going all the way to the lakes because that return trip is about 9 miles or almost 15 km. I had asked if there were some views, of the lake on one side and the mountains on the other, part way along and the ranger at the visitor center said that there were. We ended up going about half way or around 7 km.

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It turns out that there was not much point going to the lakes anyway because by the time we would have gotten there it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see anything, as confirmed by people we asked as they came back.

The trail starts at the same place as the Fishhook Creek Trail we took the other day. Then it is a gentle set of switchbacks, climbing about 600 feet, to a long narrow, fairly flat ridge.

Since it was so cold when we left the RV we had bundled up with hats, gloves, warm pants and coats but once we got going, the climbing had us removing layers.


Then the sun came out and we felt a bit foolish with all our winter clothes. We saw people heading up in shorts and T shirts. I pretty sure that they regretted that clothing choice later.


We couldn’t see much other than trees during the climb. We got a few obscured views of Redfish Lake.



And the mountains.


Ever upward.


Unfortunately, they also allow horses on the trail and it was obvious that some had headed up recently, from all the deposits. We met them coming back down.


Up on the ridge there were a few, more open, viewpoints. Jennie strikes a pose.



The trail along the ridge top was very easy.


An interesting tree, that was bleeding sap from a wound.



Since there had been no snow in the forecast, it was a surprise when we turned around and noticed that the mountains were disappearing.



Looking down at the lake we could see the wall of snow coming our way.


A photosphere.

And then little balls of white started coming down.



We decided that this was a good time to turnaround.


In a short while we were back in the sun, so we found a nice rock to sit on for lunch. It still seemed to be snowing below us.


It was still cold and windy but with all our winter clothes it never bother us.

The snow started up again so we headed farther down.


We could barely see the mountains.


Then bright sunshine but still with some snow coming down.



Then no snow for a short time.


The lake has some nice colours when it is in the sun.


Down the switchbacks. Still sunny.


Then darker and more snow.


The poor flowers wondered what the heck was going on. All week we have had highs around 25-27C.



These were big wet flakes that stuck to everything.


We were almost back as we crossed Fishhook Creek.


Then it really started to come down.



And, not 5 or 10 minutes later, we were back at the car in the sun with blue sky overhead.


A photosphere from the parking lot to show how different the sky was in each direction.

While it was clear we quickly drove to the end of the lake for a few quick pictures.



We drove around to the south side of the lake to see if I could get a picture around the bend in the lake but by the time we got there everything had disappeared again.


Driving home it really started to come down. There has been no accumulation as the ground is still quite warm.

The view from our front window.


And then about an hour and a half later.


We went through that cycle a few more time this afternoon and evening.

Tonight the forecast is for a low of –3C so I have to turn off the outside water tap and empty the hose. With our tank heaters on, we can use our internal water tank for the night.

Tomorrow we are moving on to Boise.

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