Piney Lake: so peaceful early in the morning.
There are days when you plan to solo hike and then find out that many other people had the same plan. Then there are days when you think you are completely alone only to find a group of people on the trail right below you on your way down. Every once in awhile, you don't see another person on the trail or on the peak. This was one of those days.
TH: Piney Lake
After a busy work week, I was ready for some solitude. My Saturday rolled around, and I wasn't able to get up with my alarm. Darn. Well, maybe on Sunday, then. The next day, I heard my alarm and got up to turn it off. When I checked the clock, I realized it wasn't even 4:30am yet. First time I've ever heard an alarm in my head without the alarm clock. Rather than question it too closely, I decided to take it as a sign and drive out to the Piney Lake TH.
It was a cool morning, and the air was quite humid, leaving the lake and river shrouded in mist.
So close, or so I thought until the trail just seemed to keep going.
My first view of Mt Powell and Peak C was encouraging: they just didn't look very far away. Little did I know how long the bushwack along the minor drainage and the hike up the final scree slopes to Mt Powell would take me. With the recent rains, the soils were saturated. This may have made Kneeknocker Pass a bit easier, as I could almost kick steps in (it was quite reminiscent of a snow climb).
After the Airplane Gully up Navajo last weekend, I kind of liked Kneeknocker Pass.
It didn't seem too steep until I realized how far down the "flatter" segment of the trail was.
I wanted to keep to the ridge and avoid the elevation loss on the far side of Kneeknocker Pass, but it was more exposed than I was comfortable with solo. So, I dropped down (not too bad in the grippy mud) and slogged up the final slopes.
Not as bad as I originally feared.
At least there are some grassy segments.
Ah, what fun.
Looking back towards Kneeknocker Pass:
Kneeknocker Pass looks so low from this vantage.
I would recommend a helmet--although it was a 2+, I heard plenty of rockfall near Peak C and didn't see or hear any other people.
I'll let the summit views speak for themselves:
Bubble Lake and the unnamed lake above it were beautiful.
Dora Lake (?) With the rapidly developing thunderstorms and high POP, I didn't take the time to pull out the map.
One of these days:
I think I'll wait for a good snow pack before attempting C.
I'm glad this turned out at all, given how wet my phone was at this point.
I actually managed to stick to the "trail(s)" that follow the minor drainage for a fair bit of the way down. When I lost the trail, I pulled out my GPS, and looked to see where I was with respect to my track from the morning. Well, my GPS (which I've been having trouble with but haven't found the time to mess with or replace) told me that I was heading uphill and indicated that my track was a fair ways off in the opposite direction. Hmm. I could tell I was heading downhill and I was recognizing landmarks from the way up; at that point, I decided to go with my instincts and see if I could avoid the wet, slippery slabs on the way down without the help of the GPS. The thunder encouraged me to move more quickly, and I was happy when my wet bushwack deposited me on the main trail.
The mist was quite beautiful on the way out:
Note: Most of my photos were taken on my way down (I wasn't originally planning on writing a trip report but it was so beautiful I couldn't resist).