Statistics:  mileage  13.36  ascent  2179′  descent  2207′   6 hours on the trail.

Smoke from the California fires had been obscuring views for a couple weeks, but we caught a break – probably last night’s high winds – for our final training hike before leaving for Ireland.  We hiked one of my favorite trails in the Silver Lake area – to Cole Creek Lake.  The trailhead is just beyond Plasses Resort at the south end of Silver Lake. The first hour is all climbing, but the reward is a beautiful view of Pyramid Peak and Silver Lake.

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The second hour is a short descent into Allen Meadow with a sad view of an old barn that is long past its heyday (pun intended..).

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Even though most of the wildflowers are gone at the end of the summer, the rusty foliage colors make for a lovely trail.

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Far in the distance the fire in the Sonora Pass area was evident.  After the previous, smokey days, we were so happy to  have a clear day.

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The views in all directions were stunning.  Mokelume Peak dominated our views as we headed towards Cole Creek Lake.

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After about 2 hours we arrived at the Cole Creek Lake trail marker.

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The lake, as usual, was not disappointing with its calm, blue water and beautiful setting.  It is a nice swimming lake, but just a little chilly this morning for a dip.  The dogs, however, jumped right in!

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My hiking friend, Deborah Kulisch, and I hiked this trail in 6 hours, including snack stops and picture stops.  The first hour is the toughest and the remainder is pleasant walking.  We did a little cross-country trekking on the return and cut off about half a mile.

 

 

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