5 Miles, 1936ft gain/2337ft loss.
Day break reveals our good fortune, for there are only a few high clouds! Knowing most of the day would be on the ridge of the High Divide trail, we pack camp quickly, looking forward to the views at the top, and we’re not disappointed. As soon as we crest the ridge, there are spectacular views to the south of Mount Olympus, and the other peaks that surround it, like Mounts Mathias and Tom . The morning rays reflect off the glaciers and snow fields below Mt. Olympus, glittering like shards of glass. Below the mount, is a wide, arcing glacier, called Blue glacier, cutting a wide swath through the mountains, like a massive white freeway, the horizon is filled with snow covered mountain tops, but none can compare to the majestic and ice crowned Mt. Olympus. It proved hard to find that perfect picture, so we just let the cameras roll, knowing there will be hours spent at home, poring over hundreds of images. Better to sort at home, than to miss that one shot…
Looking back east, there are endless mountain tops covered in trees stretching out for miles, and you can see some of the snowy peaks along the Bailey Range. The ridge we’re on is mostly bare, with thinning trees intermingled among the high mountain meadows. One can imagine the amount of wildflowers that must surely bloom here earlier in the summer. It’s rockier and more barren on the 7 lakes basin side, and allows us to easily see the many lakes dotting the landscape. Some are no more than large tarns, others are named and larger, the deeper color of blue also indication they’re deeper than some of their brethren.
“…Oh, look, another lake surrounded by meadows…yawn…”
As the trail winds its way upward, more lakes reveal themselves, especially those hidden from view behind the trees that encroach upon the open rocky ground. There are impressive views of frozen mountaintops, and lakes everywhere, all visible from the High Divide, making this a great trek for sweeping vistas. Needless to say, our cameras stay busy all the way to the top of Bogachiel Peak at 5455ft elevation, a quick side trip off the main trail. With so much to see, it’s easy to become somewhat jaded from all the sensory input. “Oh, look, another lake surrounded by meadows…yawn…” It becomes evident why this hike is so popular. Another thing in abundance here were the mushrooms! I could not believe the amount of King Boletus that I was seeing!!!
“…Our hats off to the trail crews for an inspired bit of engineering!”
Coming down from BC Peak, the trail cuts across the steep hillsides hundreds of feet above the valley floor below, leaving a serpentine scar across the barren slope. The park service does an amazing job of maintaining the trails here, and we marvel at the next leg of our journey. We reach the cutoff for Lunch Lake, and it begins a steep descent down to the lakes edge, a 570 foot drop, over .5 mile. The entire trail down is stair stepped with the abundance of granite stone, just the perfect height like a normal set of stairs. This section of trail does a magnificent job of getting you down this steep descent. Our hats off to the trail crews for an inspired bit of engineering! There are two lakes here, smaller Round Lake, which is reached first, and Lunch Lake, which is close enough to the ridge we just navigated that there are huge boulders strewn about the lakes edge, fallen from the cliffs above, creating small islands in the water. The lake sits here at 4400ft elevation, and on the north side is where the tent sites are.
The ground is rolling small knolls, dotted with small stands of trees, and the earth is rocky except near the trees. The site we pick out is under a large tree, and the ground is nice and soft, easy to plant tent spikes in. The opposite side of the lake is nearest the ridge, and starts out flat next to the lakeshore, then rises steeply. At the east end, there is a small rock cliff that during the springtime must have a massive torrent raging over its edge, sluicing a lot of rock out into the lake, leaving a wide gash of bare, tumbled creek bed to its shore. Since we’re the first ones here, again, we take the pick of the litter. There are close to 11 sites here, and a maze of trails running everywhere. This nice site overlooking the lake is near the outhouse, another completely enclosed facility, which is probably the nicest and cleanest I’ve ever seen…
After setting up camp, and filtering water, we get to the serious job of fishing. The sun is out and warm, what could make for a better day? How about catching some trout! We try for close to 2 hours and get zip. Notta…At one point, I remember seeing a fish swim right by the lure, and turn its nose up at it…I’d hate to think we brought all this here for no other reason than to get a line wet…Over by the rock pile, we hear 3 other anglers yelling excitedly every time they pull one in, obviously having better luck than us.
“…and not because I’m a fish whisperer, as was once alluded to…”
We continue moving around the lake, until we reach the now abandoned rock pile, and within minutes, we too, have cause to celebrate, as Dan catches
our first one! A nice 6 inch brook trout! And, soon I catch one! Looks like there will at least be a taste of fish tonight! It’s a perfect day, as we continue our way around the lake, passing the poles off to Greg and Brian, in hopes they too, will land something to eat…Everyone gets a chance, but for some reason the score ends up: Dan 1, Dave 3, and goose eggs for Brian and Greg…Theories abound as to how this happened, but in the end, we decide its because they liked the white lure, and not because I’m a fish whisperer, as was once alluded to…That, or because I wouldn’t let anyone else use the pole outfitted with the white lure, etc…After cleaning the fish, pan frying the catch is on our minds and stomachs, at least there’s one for each of us!
The fish were excellent, their flesh a nice pink instead of white, and no muddy taste whatsoever! Nothing like trout from an alpine lake! Noodles and potatoes round out dinner. During our veritable feast, we notice little by little groups of people have been trickling in over the course of the day, and now, after dinner, the place is full of people.
Cleaning up, we sit around camp, and watch as night falls. It’s a great open site for viewing stars, and the occasional falling one. A doe wanders right up to the tent, her eyes reflection the lights of our headlamps. She lingers for a while, allowing everyone a chance to try and take her picture. All in all, a great night and a full day.