27 November: Medvejie LakeSome students had been planning to spend Thanksgiving weekend camping at Camp Lake and one of them invited me to come up and visit if I wanted. That got me thinking about going to Medvejie. It's been over a year since Ilast went there, so I thought it would be good to head out there again. As I was leaving, I noticed the vehicle of one of the students who had planned to go out, and that confirmed my suspicion that weather conditions probably resulted in a shorter trip than originally planned. (Later I talked to a couple of them and it had been quite wet. The two I talked to did not even stay the night due to a thorough soaking of all of one's gear. The rest of them spent one cold and wet night kept awake by the sound of avalanches before heading back the next morning.)
As I rode and walked my brother's bike out to Bear Cove, I felt like I was in pretty poor condition. Still, I persevered to the start of the trail and took my time walking to the lake. I decided to take one of the canoes out on the lake and paddled it past the waterfall. There is a patch of forest alongside the waterfall which I had previously thought might be suitable for hiking up through to get near the top of the falls. Further inspection revealed that this was unlikely, as there was a break in the woods with a steep section of bare rock. While I was looking, I noticed another possible route.
Beyond the falls as you head up the valley, the lower slopes above the lake tend to be covered in dense 4-8 foot brush with an occasional tree. This type of vegetation proves to be a bit of a hindrance to the average hiker. I noticed a place where a small stream of water kept the brush largely at bay. It appeared that this stream came from a draw that wrapped around behind a large rock feature. I decided to take a chance and hike up to see if I get make it up to a patch of woods above the falls.
It turned out that without too much difficulty and only brief detours into the streamside brush, I was able to follow the stream up to where I could get to the woods. Along the way, I noticed subtle indications of what I thought was probably a deer trail. I did not see anything conclusive until I neared the woods and saw quite much more obvious trails that appeared to get fairly frequent deer traffic. I was able to get to the top of the falls, although the view of the falls itself was pretty limited because of brush. However, there was a very nice view looking down the lake.
While I was up above the falls a couple of different times I thought I heard a jet, but based on past experience, I guessed that I was probably hearing avalanches. I looked around for signs of an avalanche, but was not able to see any. There was not much snow below the level of the clouds, so perhaps the avalanches were occurring higher and not making it down below the clouds. It is also possible that they were happening further up the valley and the sound that I heard did not give an accurate indication of direction due to the echoes.
I made it back down without incident, took some pictures from the canoe and paddled back to the trail end of the lake. As I was nearing the end, it started raining hard and I hurried to get back into the relative shelter of the woods.
After visiting with Jim Seeland at the Medvejie Hatchery for a few minutes, I rode and walked (the steep uphill parts) back to the car at Herring Cove. One thing I noticed along the road both coming and going was that there were many varied thrushes. I also saw a number of juncos and a few dippers along the streams at Herring Cove and Bear Cove.