August 3, 2011

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On August 1st I was going to check to see if the trail was clear of snow. From I-90 to the Kendall Katwalk, about 6 miles, I saw 26 downed trees that the Forest Service had recently cleared in the first two miles of the Trail. It looked like they blasted two of them.

After entering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness I counted 43 downed trees blocking the trail and almost all of them I could either step over or crawl under. Not these big guys. There were two large clusters or log jams of downed trees blocking the trail about 6 miles in on the trail in the Wilderness area.

I ran into occasional snow patches on my way to the Kendall Katwalk but nothing that needed my ice axe to traverse.

After reaching the Kendall Katwalk, the trail was buried under 2 to 5 feet of snow. I could see the impressions of where Gravel Lake and Ridge Lakes were, but they were also buried in snow. I used my ice axe in the steeper areas on my way to these buried lakes, but trekking poles would be OK if you stayed in the step impressions.

Looking across at the traverse toward Needle Sight Gap, I could see that the trail was free of snow except for a couple of small snowfields. I returned to the I-90 after hiking about 9 miles in.