As I hiked toward another lake, I passed three backpackers headed for the trailhead. They divulged that they had been at Ice Lake. Ice Lake! I had been sure it was snowbound. They said they had to "climb over some drifts" but "it was too late to turn back." The third person in line looked traumatized. "The lake refroze last night," he muttered. "So cold."
I had been planning to head for Horseshoe Lake, but Ice was only eight miles, which would make it easier to make the deadline. And why not? Ice Lake is one of my favorites. As it turned out, the "drifts" were merely a few snow patches, nothing to worry about. I lay around in the sun, reading and taking about fifty pictures of the same lake. Harmless little chipmunks raced about. So cute, I thought.
Then everything changed. As I approached my tent, I saw it. A chipmunk! Inside the tent! It raced around in terror, finally jumping out the hole it had chewed to get in.
AARGH!!! I had just repaired the two holes that my poles had torn in this tent, and I had only slept in it five nights! What is it about this tent? I could foresee another order of McNett's Bug Net Repair in my future. As I sat and pondered this event, I noticed a creepy deer stalking me. No amount of chasing it away made it leave.
|The tent, prior to the Chewing Incident.|
Ice Lake is beautiful, but it is also accessible. It draws in the inexperienced, because the trailhead is close to the state park. The trail is nicely graded, and although it's an eight mile hike to a pretty high elevation, it's totally within the grasp of the reasonably fit. The animals are getting habituated to people, and it's not great to see. It means people have been careless with their food, and the chippies and deer know. They don't forget.
After the day hikers left I had the lake to myself. Stars twinkled overhead, seen through the (chewed) netting. Getting up at 3:30 didn't seem so bad, hiking by headlamp until an hour later, it was light enough to see. I was back before 6:30, ready to begin the work day. The chipmunks? They lie in wait. Beware.
|Good night, Ice Lake.|