August 14, 2011

Blanca Lake

I set out for a hike to Blanca Lake with my trusty trail companion, Beatrix, and was amazed at the trail condition. I did this hike toward the end of July and there was still massive amounts of snow on the trail. The first half of the hike was a steady climb in relatively hot weather. It quickly became obvious that I wasn't used to the heat. Since we've had such ridiculously lousy summer, there hasn't been any time to adjust to warm weather. I was trudging up the switchbacks, it became painfully obvious that I had cut my carbohydrate intake a little too low. I was trying to climb up the mountain at a feverish pace, but wasn't having it. I asked myself, "why the hell are you so tired!? Why do your legs feel heavy?" Then I realized I had inadvertently been eating a pretty minimal amount of carbohydrates lately. As soon as I realized this I started chomping on the apple that I brought and thought to myself that I should have planned better and should have smartly prepared for expending some serious effort. And when I say prepare I mean I should have eaten some nice healthy carbohydrates the night before or at least the morning of the hike. It's all a learning lesson, right? Right. So, I ate half my apple and started feeling a little more lively. Phew! Go go gadget-carbs!

Run, run, run, snow, snow

About half way through the ascent, Beatrix found her first patch of snow. She was ECSTATIC! I mean, I can't explain how hilarious she gets when she finds snow.  It's the greatest thing I've ever seen.
We continued up the trail where we hit the snow line and left the dirt behind. It was a welcomed relief for Beatrix; she doesn't do well in heat. With the abundance of snow, all of a sudden SUPER B arrived and we were off to take on the lake.

It's obvious we're products of the Northwest,  it's either too cold or too hot when in reality it's neither. We Northwesties are pansies when it comes to weather. Anyway, this hike was overall pretty strange because it was warm the entire route, even when we were walking on several feet of snow. I've never experience this before. Normally, temperatures drop and you have to layer up, but as we walked atop the snow a warm breeze would blow by. I was glad for this too because I wasn't all that prepared for cold weather. I was in workout shorts and tanktop with possibly a long sleeve shirt in my running pack. Not so prepared, lesson learned.
July 24, 2011 - still so much snow

The trail was nicely marked with blue ribbon so it was relatively easy to find the trail. Blue is NOT a good color for trail markings. Really? Only dark green or brown would have been a worse color. Seriously, why not hunter orange or red? Something that actually stands out against trees, rock and snow. Anyway, once you get near Virgin Lake, which was completely covered in snow, the markers disappear and your left to navigate on your own down to Blanca Lake. Since I'd never been on the trail before, every once in a while I'd check my GPS to make sure I was on track. Little clothing, little food for me or Beatrix, and in an unfamiliar area... Not somewhere I'd like to get lost.

I tagged along with a few fellow hikers and all four of us made our way down to the lake. Beatrix and her far superior agility had no problems navigating the rest of the trail. It seemed to take forever to drop the last half mile to the lake. Every once in a while the trail would pop out amidst 3-5 feet of snow and we were reassured that we were at least in the right area. Once we arrived at the lake we sat for a quick snack and a little rest. Quickly, I packed up and turned around to head on out. Not really being confident in the trail, I wanted to make sure I had people following my tracks so if I could always hook up with them if need be. Thankfully, it wasn't necessary and I made it out just fine (of course).

Due to all the snow and route finding, the 7.5 mile trail took about twice as long as it normally would. When I arrived back at my car it felt like at least a 13 mile jaunt. Not that it's a bad thing, just unexpected. The trail was great and I can't wait to get back there a little later in the season to see the lake in all it's splendor. Lessons learned from this hike: never underestimate basic layers, even if it seems warm (especially with the cold summer we've had), always fuel up in order to throw down! I never want to feel "BLAH" when I'm on the trail. I love the outside too much to make it a negative experience. Next time I'll remember to eat my sweet potatoes!
Blanca Lake w/o snow (WTA)

No comments:

Post a Comment