Celebrating Independence Day with a hike – Snow Lake

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the 4th of July (well really the 2nd) this year than enjoying Mother Nature with a hike. We decided to hike Snow Lake with our friends, Nels and Sonya that morning because, according to my old man friend, it was an easy and short hike. I looked up the hike (like always) and somewhere I found information saying it was approximately a 3.5 miles hike so I figured it would be perfect since this was Sonya’s first hike this season and we didn’t want anything too hard.

The weather that morning was questionable but we ventured out anyway. The temperature was perfect – not too hot with a little bit of cool, crisp air when we got to the lake. You start the hike up some steps made from logs and rocks. You continue to climb up and around the mountain on rocky terrain which is why I was so glad I wore my hiking boots for extra ankle support and had my hiking sticks for stability. If you have those items and are hiking Snow Lake, I highly recommend bringing them with you! We get to the top and I was little disappointed – there was no lake (although there was snow along the hike) and not a great view (thanks fog) but then – the surprise came. You hike DOWN the backside of the mountain to get to the lake. This was not mentioned in the website I had found when researching the hike (don’t worry, I gave you a good informative link above) so I was little confused but thankful the old man knew what to do or we would have missed what the hike was really about.

We start hiking down the backside of the mountain and the views are much better – at least when the fog would clear for a few minutes – and there is much more snow on that side. Yeah, I might have had a few moments of panic thinking I would slip, fall, and get hurt but I survived.

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Just strolling along..

When it leveled out, there was a sign for toilets and we (well, the ladies) thought would make a pit stop. Needless to say, the toilet was just a spot where no one could see you going in the woods.

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Bathroom anyone?

When we got to the lake we took a little break to enjoy a snack and the scenery. This is definitely a hike worth packing a small snack for since you really get two hikes in one (up, down, up, down) and the view is worth taking in for a while.

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Enjoying a snack and the scenery.

The scenery here was amazing and I can only imagine how much more incredible it would be on a day when the clouds/fog weren’t so thick and the sun was shining. It was still awesome that day and really fun watching the fog roll in and out – you could literally see it coming in towards you blocking any view then rolling out and exposing all of amazing features of Mother Nature.

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Clouds starting to roll in..

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Clouds rolling out…look at the beautiful view.

After our snack and energy boost, we started to make out climb back up the mountain just to go back down the other side. By the end of the hike my knees and back were starting to hurt but it was worth every bit of the pain to spend time outside in Mother Nature with friends. I always find such peace when I am hiking (even though I complain a little bit during the hike – or until I get a snack) so I could not think of a better way to kick-start the 4th of July weekend.

At the beginning of this post you saw me mention we wanted an easy hike right? Well, did you catch on when I said you hike up, then down, then back up, then back down…it was like a double hike! It was not 3.5 miles – it was a little over 7! It was not a dirt trail – it was rocky which adds took it from easy to moderate. I will admit, it was probably good I didn’t know this ahead of time or I might have wimped out before starting. This is definitely a hike I would recommend – especially on a sunny day.

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Me and my old man friend about to hike back up 🙂

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

 

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The beginning of hiking…Rattlesnake Ledge (April 9th)

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The view at the beginning of the hike

**Please note: I forgot to hit “publish” a while back so this is a little outdated – like from April 9th**

When I moved here 4.5 years ago (holy poop! Has it really been that long?!?!?) I was constantly traveling for work and didn’t really  get to venture out much and see how wonderful the area was. In fact, I HATED living here and never thought I would be here this long. I stopped traveling as much when I switched jobs 1.5 years ago and wanted to venture out but didn’t have any friends that were really active (yeah, my old friends were lazy – and it showed quite honestly) so I didn’t hike (or do physical activity) much last summer (plus, I had an injured hip); however, I have made friends (and had some old ones move here) over the last year that are much more active so I have begun to venture out more and explore this amazing city and the surrounding areas, as my neck, hip, knee, and back permit.

My friend (we shall call him “old man friend”) and I bought 3 books, hiking boots, and hiking sticks at the beginning of spring to encourage us to venture out more. We haven’t done any big hike because I am still in the process of recovering from my wreck in 2014 and have medical procedures every other week but I do enjoy taking walks/little hikes and clearing my head at the beginning of the weekend.

April 9th: the sun was shining and the temperature wasn’t too hot so it was the perfect day to head out and climb (walk up) a mountain! We decided to hike Rattlesnake Ledge. We woke up early and to get a jump-start because parking can be difficult and we didn’t want to hike in the heat of the day. As much I didn’t like getting up at 6am on a Saturday, I was extremely thankful I did. We pulled into the parking lot around 8am and had plenty of spots available (thank goodness) which is definitely the not the case if you get there later in the day.

We began the 4 mile roundtrip hike (which is rather popular) and about 30 minutes in, I wish we had gotten our hiking sticks in time because my legs were tired – or maybe I was just hungry. I complained for a few minutes until I had a snack and then I was ready to keep going (apparently, this is a common thing for me). The views were amazing on the way up:

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Love this little bridge

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The leaves and trees…such beauty

This hike tricked me…we had about 15 minutes left of the hike but I thought the top was just one switch back away. I was a little bummed it was more like four switchbacks – I just wanted to be to the top (I had not learned the patience needed for hiking yet). When I got to the top – it was amazing! I mean, AH-mazing!

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This was worth it – the amazing view at the top!

There were quite a few people at the top and we had to cross some gaps in the rocks to get towards the edge (which I knew my dad would be telling me to “get away from the edge”). I panicked and was scared I would fall off and get hurt (seriously, like almost cried) but I managed to get across and take in the view (and another snack). While crossing the gaps in rocks, my leg knocked my camera lens cover off and it dropped it – but my “old man friend” was able to retrieve it!  We took in all of the sites before heading back down.

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You could see so far that day!

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I could have stayed up here for hours!

As we made our way down, there were TONS of people (and dogs) making their way up! When we got to the bottom, we walked around the water and enjoyed the scenery.

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How peaceful is this?!?!

After enjoying the peaceful water area, we made our way back to the car. The parking lot was PACKED and people were parking over a mile away! It makes sense though – the view is amazing, the hike isn’t too long but has some good incline so definitely a good work out. It is rated moderate and I would say that is accurate. A new hiker could definitely make it to the top – just might need to go slow and take a few breaks. I would highly recommend going early and packing a snack to enjoy at the top. In my opinion, this hike has a beautiful journey to the destination at the top so if you have to go slow – you will just get to spend more time in the beautiful trail! I will definitely be doing this hike again…and waking up early. I think this one would be cool too if you could catch the sunrise or sunset at the top…maybe I could switch it up next time.

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Me and old man friend after the hike

Have you done Rattlesnake Ledge? What did you think? Until the next hike…xoxo….Julie