Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cedar Lake

Saturday I hiked to Cedar Lake south of here in the Mission Mountains with Patti, Gene, Joyce and Cheryl.   Cheryl was in Kalispell this week from Wisconsin to visit Bill in the nursing home and she was also interested in going on a hike with Joyce and I.  The distance to Cedar Lake was 3.6 miles so a 7.2 mile hike was the right fit for Cheryl.

We met at 8 am as it was at least an hour drive to the trail head.  Gene has visited this lake in the early part of this decade so he handled navigation duties with his map while Patti drove.  Still, we temporarily got lost.  When we turned off Hwy 83 it was onto branching gravel roads.  According to the map we were on the right road.  That is, until we came to the forest service gate blocking the road.  We had not driven near the nine miles from the highway to the trail head, and there was no parking lot so we knew this was not the place.  After Patti and I helped look the map over we backtracked and took a previous left turn.


Cheryl only had tennis shoes for hiking and Patti lent her an extra pair of hiking shoes she had along.  In doing so Patti got distracted and forgot her camera in the car.  I offered to go back to get her camera but she refused my offer.

The elevation in the Mission Mountains is generally higher than in Glacier Park.  The elevation of Cedar Lake is 6517 ft, almost as high as Logan Pass in Glacier Park. We started high at the trail head and had only a little climbing to do as we went over a saddle between No Name Lake and Cedar Lake.  I didn't think it was bad but then I am used to much higher elevation changes.

The trail was nice: no downfall or bushes or vegetation crowding the trail.

There were quite a number of ripe huckleberries along the trail and I grazed as I walked.  On the return trip Cheryl and Joyce stopped and picked some huckleberries to take back for Bill.

After the saddle we hiked down to Cedar Lake then around to the other side where a primitive camping area was located.  From here one could get to the lake and sit on rocks by the lake.  Everyone but Gene took their shoes off and soaked their feet in the cool water.  Patti waded around but decided not to go for a swim as the water was too cool.

We had a long lunch before hiking back to the car.  While we seen plenty of footprints on the trail during our hike we only saw four other people and three dogs.

It may have been because of the change in the light, but as we hiked back out we all noticed all the Fall color along the trail.  It seemed far more colorful than during our hike to the lake.

A cold front was predicted to come through Montana Saturday.  We hiked in the Mission Mountains as it would get the front later in the day than our other usual hiking areas.  We had a clear warm day until our hike back to the car when the clouds came.  No rain though.

Overall it was a nice easy hike.

During the drive back to the highway we passed by a couple of nice waterfalls.  Cheryl wanted to get photos of them so we stopped.  I took photos of them also.

No Name Lake

Cedar Lake showing where we had lunch on the opposite side of the lake

Cedar Lake as seen from our lunch spot.  The middle of the photo is the saddle we hiked over to reach the lake.

The view from the saddle back in the direction of the trail head.  The Swan Range can be seen in the far distance.

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