After the long and cold hike up to the lake, we allowed ourselves plenty of leisure to wake up the next morning. A deer walked around on the slope above us, teasingly close to the tent.

Though we had planned on trying to summit Browns Peak, there was too much snow on the our approach path to even make the attempt. The peak itself was clear of snow, which taunted me throughout the day, but all I had to do was look to the right to see, again, the reason why we couldn’t go. We had neither ice axes nor crampons; to attempt a climb on snow and ice would be foolhardy and dangerous.

That would go completely against our motto of “safety fun.”

Early morning water gathering view.

We shared a breakfast dessert of raspberry crumble. It was like hot raspberry jam with chocolate cookie crumbles. Delightful. Just what I needed after an extremely cold night. Especially considering the morning wasn’t all that much warmer, even with the sun shining down.

We spent some time that morning just relaxing. We watched fish swim around in the shallow lake shore. I got water so I could get ready for day hiking.


Ambrose wanted to explore the ridge behind us, and he wanted me to go around the lake a bit more and check out whether there was a camping spot. From our vantage, it looked like there might be a spot. Rocks and logs arranged in a circle tended to mean a rough campsite. So, once we were both ready for a little day hike, we set off.

Exploration time.

We headed for a little notch, rather than trying to go straight up. The notch led us to a draw, and we followed that up as well. Before long, we had reached the end of Ambrose’s desire to explore, but I was still raring to go. I could see how close we were to the top of the ridge. Well, I thought I could. So I set off while he took a break. I reached the rocks that I was looking for, but they weren’t the top of the ridge.


However, I could see the top of the ridge, for sure this time. So I set off. It wasn’t the highest point of the ridge, but I could reach it by crossing a muddy area and stepping over some snow. Ambrose had warned me not to walk on the snow up here because it might be cornices. So I avoided stepping on the snow.

Heading up.

Looking back over the lake. 

Heading to the edge of the bowl.

I reached a rock with a single dead tree piercing it. And I looked out on the valley below. I didn’t even care about the wind that was blasting me in the face as I took it all in and took some pictures. I felt like I was on the prow of a great ship, exploring new territory, seeing something for the first time.

The valley below.

Panorama of the valley.

The tree I clung to while taking pictures of the valley.

I went back down to show Ambrose the pictures and tell him where I’d been. He had wanted me to go and explore another part of the ridge, but once he saw the pictures he figured I had seen what could be seen from the ridge. He headed back to the campsite back the way we came, and I headed back along a different route.

Tiny purple flower.

Ambrose wanted me to get a nice panoramic shot of the lake, and I thought having some height would help, so I moved towards the lake and found myself a vantage on some high rocks. I took a few shots and ate a piece of taffy to calm the rumbling in my tummy. It was time for lunch.

After lunch, I went around the lake. I had to walk close to the shore and get the outsides of my boots wet to get there, but it was a pretty easy hike, especially with my pack in daypack mode. I found the stones that looked like a campsite from the other side. The ground was far too sloped for it to be convenient for camping though. There were tons of mushrooms over here, and I scanned as carefully as I could for morels, but none were to be found.

Camping spot.

Purple flowers near the water. 

I tried to avoid the big piles of snow. It was still cold enough that I didn’t want to chance getting wet.

A little too much snow for a summit attempt.

My goal was to find out if there was a way to get from this side of the shore to the far side, past a large triangle of rock. With a little steep hiking, it was perfectly possible. I stopped at the top of the rise and decided that if I stepped carefully, I could make it to the top of the triangle and get a nice view.

Looking back at Ambrose from the other side of the lake.

That was where I got the panorama that Ambrose wanted, and I also took a few selfies. I could see Ambrose down below and across the water at our campsite. He was watching for me and I waved to him. I could see in Browns Lake there were several places where reddish rock rose from the water, nearly breaking the surface.

Browns Lake. 
Selfie from the rock. 

When I headed back down, I was in a bit of dread about going back down the steep way I’d come. So I explored farther back and found that there was a gentler slope that I could take down. Why, I thought, hadn’t I come up this way?

Browns Peak to the right of the left tree.

Then I got down far enough to see that I was heading to an area surrounded by snow. That was why.

A zoomed in shot of Ambrose watching me from across the lake.

There was a lot of snow.

I kick stepped up and over a few snow piles and made my way back to the lake. Then I walked around the shore and got back to camp and showed Ambrose my pictures.

Large mushroom under burned tree. 

Neither of us was feeling very well at this point. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but Ambrose thought it was altitude that had us down. We spent the rest of the afternoon finding places to sit in the sun and out of the wind. I read and he watched the scenery (including me).

I retreated to the tent in the early evening and began munching out on my Reeses spread. Ambrose joined me in the tent to nap. The spread, and some Korean barbecue pork jerky, became dinner for the night and we agreed to hike down to the Scenic cutoff the next day. It would help us be able to get to the car earlier on the fourth day, and it would get us lower, which, if we were being affected by the altitude, should make us both feel much better.

I was feeling ill enough to go to bed early, but I was determined to get some pictures of the alpenglow. So I stayed up and read, waiting while the sun went down until Browns Peak was bathed in rosy light.

The start of the alpenglow.

Alpenglow reflecting on the lake.
The triangle of rock I climbed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *