Weather permitting, Randy and I are intending to head up to Camp Lake the day before the deer season opens so that we can spend the night and then hunt the next day in that area. This being the case, we decided to hike up there and see what it was like since neither of us had actually been back to Camp Lake before. Last summer we hiked a ways back but didn't make it all the way.

We we drove out to Herring Cove and then had a 20 minute bike ride to get to Bear Cove. We found that the river which must be crossed to get to the trail up to Medvejie Lake was actually pretty high (sometimes it is completely dry). So we waded across in the cold water. It took us about 15 minutes to get to Medvejie Lake. We decided to try and head across the lake in the canoe which is there, but found that the leak in the canoe was too big for comfort. I didn't have any duct tape with me, so we couldn't try and patch it that way, but we did try to plug the leak by melting candle wax into it. This made a significant difference, but there was still a substantial amount of water coming in, so we decided to just hike around the side of the lake instead.

There is a flagged trail around the side of the lake, and it was not too difficult to follow. It is a little over a mile to the head of the lake, and hiking around involves a fair bit of going up and down on the large tree and moss covered boulders which line that side of the lake. I figured that on the way back we would be wishing we had fixed the canoe instead of hiking around. It took us about an hour to reach the flat river bottom at the head of the lake. From there we made our way up the valley. Along the way up there was evidence of avalanches which must have occured last winter. Trees one or two feet in diameter were broken right off. As we neared the treeline, we had to make our way through what looked like it had been the site of a fairly large avalanche. Trees were all broken down to one side of a clear line with the trees on the other side of that line looking untouched. It is pretty incredible to think of the force which must have been involved.

Above the treeline we found the valley bottom to still be mostly covered in snow. This was a marked difference from last year when there was no snow and lots of brush. The snow actually made it easier going since we could just walk over the top of the snow instead of having to plow our way through brush. When we rounded the corner and made our way towards the saddle, we saw that the sky was definitely brighter on the other side. The weather was better than it had been last year when we went up, but it was still a fairly low overcast, for the most part. However, when we went over to Camp Lake we found the clouds breaking up around the peaks surrounding the valley into which Camp Lake drains.

There was still a great deal of snow in and around Camp Lake, but we found a dry spot to sit down and relax for a while. It had taken us about 2 hours from the head of Medvejie Lake to Camp Lake. From where we sat, we couldn't really see down into the valley which Camp Lake is at the head of, so we headed around the lake to get up to a little bit of a bluff which rose between the lake and the valley. I was really impressed by the valley. It just looked incredible to me. I would like to go explore it further in the future. I think that when I die, I would like to be cremated and have my ashes spread over that valley and also Medvejie Lake. They are two of my favorite places right now.

It was starting to get late in the afternoon by this time, so we figured that it was time to head back down so that we could make it back to down by a decent hour. It was much easier sliding down the snow than it had been hiking up it. There were some nice views of Medvejie Valley which we had on the way down. We did have a little bit of a startling experience just as we were getting to the end of the snow where the trail starts down into the woods. We were walking acorss the last part of the snow bank and I think I had paused to look at something when suddenly here was this loud noise and I found myself standing with one foot in the water and Randy was asking me if I was alright. The snowbank had collapsed beneath us. We were both fine with nothing worse than a wet foot for me and a rush of adrenaline for Randy. It happened too fast for me to get startled by it, I think.

We made it down to the open timber on the flats behind the lake without difficulty and then I proceeded to lead us right into a stand of brush which was a real pain. We were only lost about five minutes in fighting through it a while before back tracking, but it seemed a lot longer than that because of how big of a pain it was. We were thinking it would be much easier to be able to sit down and paddle back to the other end of the lake instead of making our way around the edge, but we didn't have much choice at this time and so we kept going. It took us about 20 minutes less to get down from Camp Lake to the river crossing than it had taken to make it up. I think that almost all of that was saved up near the top where we could go down on the snow pretty easily. When we reached the river I noticed a large log down stream a little ways which looked like it was crossable. Randy opted for that option rather than wading across the river again. I chose to just wade across the river because the cold water felt good on my tired feet and legs.

Home | Summer 1999