Statistics:  mileage  13.36  ascent  2179′  descent  2207′

Smoke from the California fires had been obscuring views for a couple weeks, but we caught a break with clear skies – probably the high winds the night before – for our final training hike before flying to 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.


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..).


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


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.


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


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

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!


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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