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Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 1st, 2019, 5:33 pm
by Don Nelsen
This amazing cold snap turned what would normally be a very nice hike into a wonderfully scenic and snowy adventure.

The plan was to drive up the Wind River Hwy then up over the north side of the Indian Heaven area via road 30 and 24 and then into Trout Lake. After staying overnight, we planned to hike up to Lake Wapiki and then Lemei Rock. We hoped to enjoy some nice fall color and maybe feast on a few huckleberries along the way.

As it turned out, the fall color was amazing and the huckleberries, the few we could find, were delicious, but frozen and crunchy. First time I've ever experienced that!

There was still some heat left in the ground so the snow on the road had melted off enough that the going wasn't a problem. Here's a shot of the road as we crossed the pass at 4250' north of Sawtooth Mt. The air temperature was 30 degrees at 4:42 Sunday:

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The fall color was great. This pic was taken the next morning on the way to the TH:

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At the start of the hike:

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As we headed up, the foliage was bent over from the snow but mostly it was clear. It's strange to see trees and bushes still fully leafed out and covered with snow: This is the trail (!)

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There were tracks from a couple of other hikers from the previous day but they turned around 2.4 miles in. From there on we enjoyed being the first on the fresh snow. The snow depth gradually increased until it was about a foot deep above Lake Wapiki and on the ridge, drifts about a foot and a half.

The lake from the top of the ridge:

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A few views from along the way.

Kelly making first tracks:

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Lemei Rock:

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Lake Wapiki:

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That evening, we found a great spot for dinner in the area: this old community hall, now a restaurant has a good menu, great service and food as well as the perfect atmosphere for a rustic area like Trout Lake. Address: 15 Guler Rd., about a half mile NW of the main intersection in town.

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Mt. Adams the next morning:

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A perfect day in the woods!

9.5 miles, 2350 EG. Hike # 116.

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 2nd, 2019, 3:12 pm
by drm
Nice, Don. I'm assuming that you didn't climb Lemei Rock in the snow.

I guess it is now going to be full soggy season in IH when that snow melts.

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 2nd, 2019, 11:45 pm
by jointhedance
Wow! the hoarfrost on that tree!

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 8:13 am
by Don Nelsen
drm wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 3:12 pm
Nice, Don. I'm assuming that you didn't climb Lemei Rock in the snow.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
drm wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 3:12 pm
I guess it is now going to be full soggy season in IH when that snow melts.
It was still well below freezing for most of the hike. The final couple of miles as we were on our way back the wind calmed, the sun came out and we had to dodge big blobs of snow falling down from the trees. There should be some nice days in IH later this fall but yes, bring waterproof gear!

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 8:16 am
by Don Nelsen
jointhedance wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 11:45 pm
Wow! the hoarfrost on that tree!
Thanks for the comment. It was truly a wonderland up there and I wish I could have explored more.

dn

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 4th, 2019, 7:41 am
by kepPNW
Looks like that was an awesome day up there! Loved that shot of Wapiki Lake from the ridge above, and the hoarfrost too! Just beautiful. Major bonus to find out there's another dining option in Trout Lake now, as well. :D

We wandered up to Red Mountain two days later, with temps approaching 50°, and the scene was much different. Day (or two?) old footprints along the PCT had melted down to ground level; only a few inches of snow beside the trail. Some deeper drifts approaching the lookout, but quite easily navigated.

Tagging on with a few photos to show the "after" conditions nearby for those wondering...

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Looking up from PCT

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The Racetrack

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Waving towards Lemei

Re: Lemei Rock & Lake Wapiki Sept 30 (!!)

Posted: October 4th, 2019, 8:03 am
by Don Nelsen
Karl,

Thanks for the photos! Wow - what a difference a couple of days made.

dn