Inspired by Skip’s & BaileyBoy’s description of the Observation Peak trail, I decided to see what Soda Peaks Lake looked like with a covering of snow. I started from Government Mineral Springs (not the equestrian TH). In the summer, folks seem to prefer visiting the lakes from the Soda Lakes TH to the west (much less gain & distance) but I’ve always enjoyed this longer approach (about 6 mi RT & 2500’). The trail was in pretty good condition, except for one trail-blocking blow down at about 2600’,
until snow suddenly appeared at about 3300’. Some faint tracks continued up to about 3500’ then simply stopped. I couldn’t see any kind of human tracks beyond. While I pondered my navigational options, a really large tree fungus caught my attention.
The snow was firm (biggest posthole was 1’) with a few icy patches (had Microspikes along but didn’t use them) – carrying snowshoes would have built character but wouldn’t have been needed. From where the tracks stopped, I just kept angling upward and west through the trees and across a few open areas, until I came into the open about 100’ above the lake. The lake was completely snow covered (maybe to 2’ or so) – left is today, right was same view in September 2009 -
with a few patches of thin ice near the shore (I was not at all tempted to wander out and test the ice (?) on the lake itself). The day started out sunny, got a little overcast while I was at the lake, but then returned to blue on the way back.
Mine was the only car at the TH and I saw only 2 other folks on the trail all day.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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