There is nobody else in the canyon, the tourists having fled back to the city and our trail crew long gone to scratch out an existence until summer comes around again. We retreat a thousand feet and watch the fog sidle up the canyon below us.
Trail running won't last too much longer either, snow drifting high enough that any run turns into a survival shuffle. The skiers are starting to reappear from their summer hibernation, peering into the distance at snow-iced bowls and speculating on the charms of another La Nina winter. "Winters are so short here," J says, meaning it despite the evidence to the contrary. This is a country of winter, summer just a pause.
We wind back down the switchbacks to the trailhead, still the only car in the lot. That night it rains hard, and I know that more snow has fallen in the high country. I feel like we've gotten away with something, sneaked in a trip to the lake in the last few moments. Nobody will be back up there until July.