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Off Week – Off Trail – Hike of the Month


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Great sunset photo. makes me REALLY wish I could have made it.

You're remembering the wrong way Fe, that's the sunrise!


Here's the report:


Well, since nobody could or would go, I went myself. In keeping with my off-trail summer of hikes, I wanted to return to Lake 3995 in the Wonder Mountain Wilderness. I arrived at the trailhead at noon Friday after a full sit-down breakfast and signed in. The route was the same as last time, so not much new to report. I left the trail and headed up the draw in the afternoon heat, and truly wished I could have gotten to the trailhead at sunup. Sigh, I say that every time. I dropped my pack at the lake at about 5:30, and immediately set up my tent. I went down to the lake to fish and spotted someone walking in, surprising since I was expecting to have the whole place to myself for the weekend. Paul was a friendly gentleman who was up to spend the Saturday picking the blueberries that grow all around the lake. Like last time, the blueberries were the sweetest I’ve ever had.


I caught and released a dozen or more trout, most in the five to six inch range, but landed a couple ten inchers as well. They were all fighters and the smaller ones seemed to have more fight than the bigger ones. As night fell, an owl began to hoot loudly from just the other side of the lake, and its voice echoed down the valley. After a few tries, a response came back from what had to be the other end of the Wonder Mountain Wilderness. The next morning at the crack of dawn, Paul was up on the hillside on his hands and knees picking blueberries, I wandered around sipping my coffee.


By about 2pm Paul had filled all his containers and headed out, but not before telling me a route to the lake that’s a little easier than the one I took. After I had fished my way around the lake again, I decided on a little skinny-dipping, the water cold but refreshing nonetheless. My waterproof altimeter watch, good down to 100 meters, failed. I would spend the rest of the weekend with no idea what time it was. After drying out on the rocks and soaking up some vitamin D, I got dressed and gathered up some firewood for my evening fish fry. Now I was fishing for dinner, and the fish were NOT going to cooperate. However, at the north end of the lake I landed the biggest fish I would catch all weekend- dinner!


The next morning I woke up at first light and scrambled up to the hilltop at the north end of the lake with a cup of coffee to get some pictures of the sunrise. The solitude was wonderful and the sunrise breathtaking. After fishing my way around the lake again, I repacked and started out. The route through the saddle above the lake was a bit confusing but I figured it out and hiked, slid, stumbled, and slipped down the steep draw back to the Skok trail. This was an incredible and refreshing weekend.





















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