Monday, October 14, 2013

Symphony Lakes in the rain and snow

Travis and me with the clouds chasing us

Ryan heading up the valley

South fork of the Eagle River
We hiked up to Symphony Lakes this weekend and experienced some real Alaskan October weather, finally. It's been mild here and the only time we got snow down low was way back in September before I went to Kotzebue. So, when we started our hike it was a balmy 50 degrees at our house. Up in the South Fork of the Eagle River where the trail starts it was a littler cooler and it was sprinkling, but overall fairly mild. We even hiked without jackets.

But...the whole way up the valley a low ominous mass of clouds was chasing us. After five miles it finally caught us at Symphony Lake where we stopped to cook our top ramen (classy, I know) with our handy jet boil. Having a hot lunch seemed like a great idea, as did resting for a few minutes. About half way trough cooking our ramen, which only takes three minutes, I was ready to bolt. Don't get me wrong, we were totally prepared with rain gear and warm clothes, but beyond wearing insulated rubber fish-processing gloves, I'm not sure what you can do to keep your hands dry and warm when it's dumping big wet sticky snowflakes sideways.

Here we are enjoying our ramen in the beginning of a snow storm (don't we look like we're having fun??)
After scarfing down our ramen, we did booggie out, but unfortunately due to the extended period of mild (ie. rainy) fall weather we've been having, the last two miles of trail is a complete mud pit and there isn't really a fast way to hike through it. We were plenty warm though and we did hike almost the entire five miles out in a decent blizzard.

This is the last photo we took because the camera, as you can see, was fogged up and wet.
Just as we got back to the car it let up and sprinkled on us. An hour later when I ran to the grocery store, it was sunny and the fresh snow on the mountains looked stunning. I suppose I shouldn't have expected any less from an October day.

This isn't a good photo, but you get the idea - we hike through a blizzard only for it to get sunny two hours later.

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