Saturday, June 25, 2016

Walking the line at Legore Lake

Legore Lake, highest lake in the state. You have to work to get here.
I slid on the snowfield, wondering if I had reached the line. You know the one: it divides pushing yourself beyond what is comfortable and what, actually, isn't very smart. Some people never learn this line, and get in trouble over and over again. Some people don't get very close to it, and never learn what they can achieve.
I knew I could climb up this snowfield, but I wasn't sure about getting down. It was steep and angled right toward some rocks. You could pick up a lot of speed if you fell. It probably wasn't a YFYD* snowfield, though. I made a bargain with myself: I'd climb to the basin, and if the remaining trail to the lake was covered in snow, I would turn back. When I pulled myself to the lip of the basin, a mostly snow-free path waited.
Lookin' over at the Lostine drainage over the saddle.
I've been to this lake, the highest lake in Oregon, a handful of times, and each time I tell myself I won't ever go again. The trail is a nasty mess of eroded pebbles, and there's no breaks, just a steep climb, 4,000 feet in as many miles. It's easy to face plant, and you are reduced to a slow trudge. 

I keep going back, though. I've never seen another person at the lake, and it's a peaceful little place, under snow most of the year. On June 25th, it is still partially frozen. I have never encountered the infamous boulder field in this much snow, and while it eliminated the tedious picking through shifty rocks, I'm not a big fan of the uncontrolled slide. 


But still. This was a time when bumping up against that imaginary line worked. The climb down the snowfield wasn't as bad as I feared, and I even glissaded a little. The mountains were big and deserted, everyone else choosing to stroll to a waterfall on a level trail. I love it when things work out like this. 

Looking down the boulder (snow) field. Yikes!
Whew! Made it.

*You Fall, You Die.

Guys! I don't talk much about my books on this site--I have another one, http:\\maryemerick.com for that purpose. But this news is so huge I must share it. My second book just got accepted by a New York publishing house. I never thought I would get one book published, much less two. This one is a memoir about fighting fire from Florida to Alaska. I don't really fight fire anymore--just help at the helibase--because it just isn't the same as it used to be. But those times were some of the best of my life. I can't wait to see it in print.

13 comments:

  1. Congrats on your next book Mary, I look forward to it!
    Beautiful place, I've hiked Hurricane Creek many times but have never gone
    up, up, up to Legore Lake. Isn't there a old mine that you go by on the way to the lake?

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    1. Yes, and the remains of an old cabin.

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  2. Glad you didn't FYD up there, but it sounds like an epic adventure...and one few people undertake....suspect that's why you like it!

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    1. I think people do get up there, but strangely enough I never see anyone.

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  3. Friday, 24 June I was day hiking to the summit of Aneroid. It was a nice day with nobody else anywhere close to the summit (saw some hikers and backpackers on the E Wallowa Trail). Flowers up high were awesome!

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    1. Nice, did you get there from Mount Howard?

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    2. No Mt. Howard. They don't start operating until way too late in the day. Left the trailhead at 6:15, hiked the trail till the first big meadow, just beyond the campsite on the trail (why would anybody camp there?), turned east and climbed up to the ridge between East and Aneroid, then strolled south to the top. Second time I've day hiked to the summit. Always nice.

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  4. Congratulations Mary, on the book and safely negotiating the boulder field.
    Sadly I have reached an age where my bones are brittle so opting to take the risk of a fall is no longer sensible. I only have boulders and fallen trees to tempt me and they do, but sanity steps in. I hate walking away wondering if I really could of done it!

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    1. I hate wondering if I could have also. Sometimes I go past the point that I should have turned around. I'm getting better at that though.

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  5. Congrats on the second book! Do you have a release date set?

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    1. Nope. I talk to my editor next week and that should give me more info.

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  6. I love getting up to lakes early in the season to see them only partially frozen and the one you saw here is so pretty. Congratulations on your second book heading off to be published!

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  7. I am so behind on blog reading, but just read your awesome piece of good news!!! I'll slowly be catching up on all your posts, so I'm sure there is more news to report!

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