Today was not a travel day; we were leaving our tent in the same place, but we did plan on doing a bit of adventuring. The plan was to climb Benedict Peak. That’s not an official name, but just the appellation of the peak that rises above Benedict Lake. I had looked up online how other people approached it and we had a GPS track to lead us once we left the trail. So we got up reasonably early and headed out around half past 8.
The sun was up, which was nice for me as that meant it wasn’t too chilly when we started. Of course, we had a bunch of switchbacks to climb to get from Spangle Lake to Lake Ingeborg, so I was going to warm up pretty quick anyway. Between Spangle and Ingeborg was a little lake with no name that featured a rocky beach at this time of year. Then some more switchbacks up to Ingeborg, where Ambrose and I stopped to top off our water supply for the coming climb.
While we were getting water, the peace and quiet of the wilderness was interrupted by the sound of helicopters. We heard them for a while before they swept into view, four military-looking helicopters that made quite the racket before disappearing. I didn’t realize that they were allowed to fly over the wilderness like that, but at least the disturbance was brief.
After we followed the trail around Lake Ingeborg, we left the trail and tried to follow the GPS track that Ambrose had programmed. I thought we were going too low, but he wanted to stick with what he put in there, so we downclimbed.
Which meant later we had to climb back up.
It was an interesting little off trail adventure we had. We fought a bit about the route. Eventually, I dug my heels in about continuing to hike down and insisted we follow a gully up instead. I have, by now, collected a number of stories about our trips where I don’t insist and we end up getting lost. So, I’ve learned that when my instincts tell me to insist, I should.
We followed the gully up, and then another one once that one ended. The way was steep, because we had gone down so far, but it led us up in sight of the peak, and we could follow from there.
Unfortunately, because the way was so very steep, Ambrose started to get light-headed. He stopped short of the ridge line and insisted that I go on and finish.
Now, the climb to the ridge line was no problem for me. Just a steep climb; I’m good for that. I made the ridge line and sat down to admire the view.
What I couldn’t admire was the peak.
With the way I felt, and my level of experience at climbing peaks (I’ve done like, one other, off trail), I made the decision not to attempt it by myself. Because it looked, in the moment, like a death trap. A tightrope walk over loose rock to a scramble on looser rock.
No, thank you, I enjoy living.
So I went back down and found Ambrose. The coming down was harder than going up for me, but I managed it without falling – a good thing since it was so steep I probably would have started rolling and not stopped for a long time.
We found a much better way back to the lake than we had taken on the way from it. There was a nice meadow that we considered returning to for camping, and not nearly as much loss of elevation before we came back in sight of the lake. Just before regaining the trail, I found a fire pit with burned up logs in it. I took a few minutes to destroy it before hiking on, because that’s not allowed in the wilderness.
When we regained the trail, we ran into a guy with a fishing pole and spent some time talking. He and his group had come in via Lake Petit and were having trouble finding fish. Ambrose recommended Lake Everly, but that would be a bit more hiking out. We could see the rest of his group at the edge of Lake Ingeborg, but in the opposite direction that we were heading.
I struck out ahead of Ambrose so I could beat him to the campsite and get our lunches ready. We really should have brought them with, but we didn’t. I did take the time to get some pictures of Spangle Lake, sparkling gloriously in the sunshine when the clouds let up.
I got our lunches and headed down to wait for Ambrose by the outlet of Spangle. There, we would have water to replenish our supplies as well as some shade for eating lunch. Though I didn’t want the shade at that point, because the wind was whipping around and I felt pretty darn cold.
After Ambrose arrived, we got to eating lunch, and then spent the rest of the day just relaxing. Trying to stay warm and also enjoying being outside with each other. The guys from Ingeborg walked by in ones and twos later in the evening, heading towards Ardeth Lake. Our deer friend paid plenty of visits, and I even saw a fawn with her at one point, though I couldn’t catch a picture of the little one.
Overall, it was a very nice day.
Getting ready to head out.
Climbing up to Lake Ingeborg.
Unnamed lake before Ingeborg.
The unnamed lake’s rocky beach.
A section of Lake Ingeborg.
Where we got water from Ingeborg.
Heading off trail.
The partly cloudy sky afforded some nice views.
Ambrose heading down.
We’re mostly heading toward Benedict Peak.
Mount Everly is in that direction, but I’m not sure that’s it.
I don’t know the names of these peaks, but I’m sure I’ve seen them before on the way to Lake Everly.
Tree growing from between rocks.
Not the peaks we’re aiming to climb.
Ambrose found an airplane part.
Time to climb back up.
Unknown lake across the valley.
Lake Ingeborg from afar.
That’s Benedict Peak.
That’s me deciding not to climb it by myself.
The view back the way we came.
The other side of the ridge line.
We found a better route down.
But it was still pretty steep.
This meadow might be a good place to camp.
I destroyed the fire pit. Well, I wrecked it a bit.
Back to Ingeborg and the trail!
Spangle Lake – the kind of picture I wanted back in 2016.
Unnamed lake again.
Spangle in the sunshine.
This view shows a bit of why I wanted to bring Ambrose here.
It’s hard to show just how big Spangle is in these pictures.