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(Continued from the last page.)

Now we're within half a mile of Clear Lake. The road continues undulating up to about 12,000 feet but most of the climb is over. Cody and I are all alone in this scenic winter wonderland and loving the peace and quiet.

From now to the lake the road parallels fairly close to Clear Creek. It's "cool" how the water flows in and out of snow tunnels:



Pretty soon I entered the high alpine area where marsh marigolds thrive. They pop us as soon as the snow melts around them. Sometimes I've even seen them blooming under water!

I had to walk through only one place with shallow water as I got closer to the lake:


Then there were two long stretches of snow to cross. I stayed on the snow that was clearly on top of the road, not the snow covering the creek to the left.

I wasn't so worried about getting wet; it was plenty warm in the direct sunshine.

But I didn't want to fall through and possibly have trouble getting out. Even though I've been up here numerous times I don't know how deep some of this snow is -- and there wasn't anyone else up here to rescue me.

I was fascinated with the floating chunk of snow in the next two pictures. In these and other photos you can see there are crevices where blocks of snow will soon fall into the water as melting continues:


There is a marshy pond of water just before the road turns left toward the lake. It's usually been very shallow when I've seen it before. Today most of it was still under ice and snow.

I carefully crossed the snow to the right of the pond where other people had walked. The paths were high enough upslope that there most likely wasn't any water under me:


Cody's footprints are right of the crevices.

Looking back across the pond; I walked over to the far left.

When I came to the last snow bank over the water I couldnít tell exactly where the road went, although the tree trunks gave me a clue. There was too much water and too much snow: 

The Forest Service marker (left of the arrow) was nearly buried. I know it is about four feet tall.

There were footprints going over the Clear Lake but I could tell the snow was softening and breaking off into pieces nearby so I didnít attempt to cross there. The water on the left where I could see bottom was too deep and wide to cross, too.

My only good option for reaching the berm above Clear Lake (arrows above) was to cross a long way around the water to the right on rough rocks. I started to do that but soon turned around; I was afraid I might twist an ankle and be in real trouble.

I was only about 200 feet from being able to look down into the lake Ė frustrating! Oh, well. Iíll just have to hike back up there after more snow melts if I want to see it this year.

After a few minutes we turned around and I got more pictures of the marsh/pond and creek from that direction:







This is about where I saw the young couple and their two dogs going up to the lake. They're the only other hikers I saw on the road in four hours. 

More photos of the descent and flowers on next page . . .

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil