Saturday, September 23, 2017

Back to Bear Lake

It has been a number of years since I have been to Bear Lake. Most of the trips had been to either prepare the location for the lean-to build, or to visit the lean-to traveling different routes. This time would be the short way in as an "Intro to Backpacking" for the local meetup group. In the days leading up to the trip all but two dropped out. This is typical, unfortunately. The two who would join me did not need any Intro lessons, although one did ask if I would show her how to hang a bear bag. She spent this past summer hiking the PCT and always just slept with her food.

When we arrived at the trailhead in McKeever, the few parking spots were already taken. I found a spot a few yards away to back into for easy exit. The trail in was just as I remembered. I chuckled to myself as certain memories came back to me. We passed by a family hiking the opposite direction. One car down, 2 to go. The lake was upon us quite soon. We still had to hike about a half mile to the lean-to side. At the lake side, a solo hiker approached us. He looked towards me and said, "You're duct tape, right? I know you from Rob's videos". I said I was. He told us there were two guys at the lean-to bu the other campsite was free. We thanked him and continued on. We turned off the main trail and headed up to the lean-to.

The two gentleman and I talked a bit about the lean-to. I gave them a bit of its history. They invited us to share with them, but I deferred to the others who opted for the campsite. We set up camp and went to gather some firewood. Since the hike in was short, we just relaxed. It was unseasonably warm and I had not put on sunscreen. I would pay for this oversight later. I took a short walk around our side of the lake looking for the old rowboat. I didn't find it, nor any other boat or canoe. In front of our campsite, near the inlet I saw some smaller brook trout rising for the insects. I wandered back up to the lean-to to let the two guys know about the rising trout.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We went to bed at hiker midnight and I slept quite well. didn't even need my quilt. As usual I was up before the sunrise. I was looking forward to watching the sun hit the trees on the other side as they were just starting to change. I snapped a few photos as the sun began to burn away the fog and illuminate the far side of the lake. The girls were soon awake as well and we packed up and headed back to the car. A stop at the diner for a late breakfast is always a great way to end the trip.

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