It was November, the latest I had ever attempted to reach the lake. I hadn't expected to make it this far, so although I was carrying all the winter survival gear, I had only a couple of protein bars. Who ever heard of making it to Ice Lake in November? But here I was, trudging through a few inches of snow.
|Way better than August. Zero people.|
It turned out that while the trail did get snowier, it wasn't really "worse". I was glad I kept going, and made it to the lake, probably one of the last people to do so before winter brings too much avy danger. However, standing at the lake, I could feel the mountains' indifference. Just as easily as this nice sunny day, a winter storm could blow in, obscuring the way down. Part of the bargain you make with wilderness is that you aren't in charge.
I didn't stay long at the lake. It gets dark so early. Feeling chased by winter, I bounded down the rocky switchbacks and felt relieved to be at the car three hours later, feeling tired and "hangry". That was sixteen miles I hadn't expected to be hiking.
Being able to hike through November has been the one thing saving me from being grumpy about the change of seasons. Though we didn't have a fall in September, we are having one now. I am trying to get to as many places as I can.
Have you ever turned around when someone else advised you to? Or did you continue?