Archive for June 21st, 2009

Sawtooth Range at Twin Lakes

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

Thursday morning the day welcomed us with crystal clear skies. The Sawtooth range was blazing against the Cerulean sky. Mike and I took several pictures before we walked over to the Village Café for breakfast. As we began to pray over our meal, our waitress Kathy, started to ask us a question before she realized that we were saying grace. She apologized, and after we said grace, she later came back and told us how good it was to see someone still praying for their food. We told her that we have been doing it for 30 years now. She remarked that she and her husband have been saying grace for 36 years. I asked her if that was how long she had been married. Kathy said that they were married for 37 years but the first year, they did not yet see a need to say grace. The bible says in everything to give thanks to God. He has provided so much, and we never want to be remiss in thanking God for all his blessings.
After breakfast, we returned to our room and prepared for our hike to Barney Lake. It took us about 20 minutes to get our hiking gear and backpacks loaded, and then we hit the trail. It was 10:00 AM. Barney Lake is a four-mile hike with a 1,300 foot elevation gain. We had seen pictures of it on Google Earth, and it appeared to be a serene alpine lake. So off we went. We saw very few people on the trail. The walk to the trail head was about a mile, and from there the trail was a gradual meander up the countryside A young couple passed us by early in the hike. They were loaded down with large backpacks and camping gear. They looked to be doing some serious hiking. We asked them if they were going to Barney Lake. They said yes. We wished them well. That was the last we saw of them. The initial hiking trail led us through a tranquil pine forest. We heard birds chirping and twittering in the treetops, a good sign that there were no bears or other predators nearby. When we had checked in yesterday, the desk clerk had told us that there were lots of bears around. So I, of course, was wary. About a half mile into the trail, there were several signs describing the area, including a map. We were entering the Hoover Wilderness area of Humboldt/Toiyabe Forest. I was just getting over a respiratory infection, so the exertion from uphill hiking did aggravate my airways, and I did cough a lot on this hike. The visitors guide indicated that this hike was a moderate to severe one. But in talking to some of the locals, they had told us that the first three miles of the hike were a gradual elevation gain, and the last mile would be a little harder.
After going through the pine forest, the trail seemed to open up into a wide meadow with sage brush everywhere. The Sawtooth Range gazed down at us with a lofty air. There were great photo opportunities here. We passed through a couple of aspen forests and eventually stopped at an area that had several rocks of good seating quality where we rested for a few minutes. The weather today was probably in the 60’s, but when you’re hiking, it sometimes heats up quickly from all the exertion. So I eventually shed my jacket. About noon, we ran across a hiker and his German Shepherd dog on the trail. He was returning from Barney Lake. We asked him how the hike was. He replied that it wasn’t too bad. There were some switchbacks and an aspen forest ahead, but it was well worth the hike for all the beautiful scenery he saw. He said we probably had another mile and a half to go before we reached Barney Lake. Shortly after that, the trail started climbing more dramatically, and we began to encounter several switchbacks. They were not bad at all compared to some of the switchback trails we have hiked in Yosemite. After rounding one switchback, we were rewarded with an eagle’s eye view of Twin Lakes. Wow! It was amazing that we had climbed that high! We still had a ways to go though before reaching our destination of Barney Lake. At this point, the trail seemed to narrow as well as increase in difficulty. We reached the point where the trail traversed along the side of a high rock cliff with many cracks and crevasses in it. This was a perfect place for mountain lions to prey. It was unnerving for me, and I prayed and asked God to protect us. We had prayed earlier in the hike, but I felt I needed an extra boost of faith! After we made it past this rock wall, the trail led us into another aspen forest, and within another ten minutes, we had reached the shores of Barney Lake! I thought we would never get here, but thank God, we made it! This was quite a feat for me as I have asthma and a mild heart condition. But neither of those seemed to affect me. Thank the Lord! We found an old log, sat down, and ate our granola bars for lunch. It was about 1:00 PM. Throughout our hike, clouds had been gathering, and by the time we reached the lake, while there were still blue skies, a considerable amount of clouds were forming over the lake. On the south side of the lake, high above us, loomed a snow-capped mountain peak called Crown Point. It was so majestic and regal looking. Mike and I both spent some time taking pictures. I even tried out my new zoom lens. We did not stay too long as the wind was picking up, and we were getting colder by the minute. It had taken us about three hours to reach Barney Lake. The trip down was much quicker, about two hours.
After resting for a few minutes in our room, we had an early dinner at the village café. Mike ordered the meat loaf dinner again, and I ordered the special, A New York Steak. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. It was a delicious meal. When we exited the café, it was sprinkling outside, and over Twin Lake was a beautiful rainbow. By this time, my legs and feet were beginning to ache from the 8-mile round trip hike. I went back to our room to rest, but Mike, not wanting to miss a great photo opportunity, grabbed his camera and hurried over to the lake. The rainbow was vibrant, and he was able to capture several spectacular photos. There was even a double rainbow! What a great way to end the day, with a reminder of one of God’s promises.

DSC_0261 rainbow

DSC_0192 kare at barney

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