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Continued from the previous page . . .


Now we've reached the Lower Ice Lake Basin near the intersection with the trail that goes up to Grant-Swamp Pass. Here's the map section again:

We're heading west from the blue trail (part of the Hardrock course) toward the red #2.

It's cool when you get your first view of the upper basin:

The very large Fuller Peak is on your left and the interesting peaks on the far side of the upper basin (Vermillion, Golden Horn, and Pilot Knob) are in your view for over a mile through the lower basin:

Backpackers and day hikers enjoy the little ponds below the trail in the lower basin.

The trail through the lower basin is mostly smooth and easy to  hike or run when it's dry.


This basin is lower at the far end than where we entered it.


Another small lake in the lower basin


Part of Fuller Peak's broad shoulder

Yellow mountain avens brighten up the landscape as we get closer to the upper basins.

Marsh marigolds start blooming as soon as the snow melts (or before).

Above and below:  one of the waterfalls that come down from Island Lake
 in the basin below Grant-Swamp Pass; it divides into several little
streams on its way down to Ice Lake Creek in this lower basin.


Cody peers over the young skunk cabbage, which can grow to three or four feet tall.

The trail can become a stream on warm days when there is serious snowmelt.


Although there were four or five vehicles in the parking area at the trailhead I didnít see anyone until I was almost to the waterfalls at the end of the Lower Ice Lake Basin:

The approach to the upper Ice Lake basins;  the snow very recently melted in this area.

Three hikers were coming back from two days of backpacking in this end of the lower basin.

They didnít see anyone try to climb up the path to or past the waterfalls shown in these photos; there is so much snow that itís impossible to see where the trail goes above the waterfalls even though I've been up there several times before.

Snow-covered waterfall to L; need a shovel and pick
to get through the ice and snow covering the trail to R.

The trail goes up that-a-way, just to the right of the snow-covered waterfall.

Cody and I crossed several little creeks but stopped short at the last one before the waterfalls Ė it was flowing very fast and was all over the hillside. Previously I've been able to jump across it but not today.

If I knew I could have kept going for a while after that, I would have forded the creek; Iíve forded worse ones than that. But there just wasnít any point because I could go only about a hundred yards beyond it before reaching the snow-covered trail shown above and below.

The waterfalls at the end of the lower basin (to the left of the arrows in the photos above) were even more interesting than usual. They are some of the multiple streams of water that flow down to the  lower basin from the upper basin at this point.

I could see water in several falls iin the middle of the next picture:

The waterfall to the far right, which is very close to the trail, is still 98% covered with snow. I saw just one hole in it with water flowing but itís obvious there is a lot of water flowing beneath that snow.

There are also multiple falls above these two. With all the snow up there, the falls will be fantastic for weeks to come.

Continued on the next pagefurther exploration of the lower basin

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