Day 72 - Snowy Lakes - June 16

I led the way through the wooded area going towards Aloha Lake today.  I've hiked it twice already, so I should know where the trail is, but I still ended up to one side or another a little.  I did manage to avoid going down to Lake Lucille, staying on the trail better than the first time.  At one point, we saw two hikers uphill who told us we were off trail.

I saw a marmot for the first time!  Then I saw another.  Then I saw a large animal, running away.  It was a huge porcupine, way bigger than I thought they get.  It was easily 100 lbs.  Then I heard the noise of claws in pine trees.  It was climbing!

We stopped at Aloha Lake for a lunch break.  I found the piece to my stove, right there where we camped before!  We walked along the shore of Aloha Lake and then up the valley and over a crest.  I realized going over that the snow was deeper here, seeing a deep crack next to a rock and noticing the tall trees that just had their tops sticking out.  It could have been 20 feet deep there.  We went over and down, weaving between small lakes.  We reached Heather Lake, a deep blue lake partially covered in ice.  The trail goes to the left of the lake, between it and a steep slope.  The snow was angled, but there were good footprints.  If you slipped, though, you'd be dunked in some very cold lake water with no time to catch yourself.  I planted my downhill Whippet pole securely before taking steps.

Going around Susie Lake, there were patches of snow free trail, but the lake was also high enough to cover the trail.  The lake outlet stream is high and it freaks me out looking at the log.  It's about time to stop anyway, so we decide to wait until morning, when it should be lower.
Two backpacking women and a dog tell us there is one group ahead.  It must be Peter and his group.  Optimistic Turtle passes, crossing on the log.  We had a great valley view, and clouds at sunset.


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