Plans, as always, can be subject to change. I really hope to get up to Mirror Lake sometime, but it sounds like that may need to be in the off season. Instead we went to one of the places we've frequently gone, Clear Lake. I pulled in and the parking off the highway was blessedly empty. Unfortunately the snow was not fantastic, but we made do. The dogs were going berserk at that point. They realized something good was up and it was all I could do to get out and let Vegas out without her launching onto me from the back seat. That girl loves our adventures together!
Our arrival was right about 9:10 or so. It took me about 20 minutes to get Vegas geared up as well as my snowshoes on and pack situated. Then we were off! Fortunately the drizzle and mist we'd experienced on the drive up the mountain had stopped. I was not going to look forward to being rained on and we lucked out. Here is Vegas all outfitted like a Ruff Wear advertisement:
After the water detour, we kept on the same path. We came around a bend a short while later and I was facing a long upward slope. I kept wondering if this path would make its way to the lake or back around to the path we would have been on going straight. It took some time, but I finally caught a glimpse of the lake. At this point we were about five miles.
Then we were off again. It wasn't too long before I started thinking about what choices I had to make. I knew I wasn't lost but I had to decide if I kept "exploring" or if I turned back the way we had come. A little while later and before I completely lost track of the lake, I decided we'd go off-roading again and follow the edge of the lake to the path I knew took us back to the highway and parking area.
We kept moving along the lake for a little while longer before I completely lost the snow and decided to head inland a bit. It wasn't but a few hundred feet before I found a campsite and followed the path from it down to the road campers would have come in on. At that point we were still seeing the lake as it wrapped around the area of land we were on and the snow finally got a little better again so I could put my shoes back on and stop carrying them. At this point we were around 7.0 miles and I was resigned to carrying Leo the rest of the way. Before too long we did make it out to one of the main paths and I quickly realized it was in the vicinity of our creek sojourn earlier. With an internal whoop and some verbal encouragement to Vegas, we kept on going. At this point I can admit, we were tired. Unfortunately it was a good mile back to the branch we had turned off from and another mile back to the truck. I've rarely been so glad to see my truck and the end of something, and not to say we didn't have fun, but it was quite a long journey. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the trip, got some much needed solitude, and so glorious pictures and memories, too.
We had drill team later that night, too, but I'll go over that tomorrow night. It's a work day and I am off to sleep.