Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Hardscrabble Lakes 9/8/04

After Last week's all day affair I was looking for something somewhat shorter. Justin joined me for this trip. I thought he might get a kick out of the Middle Fork Rd, thankfully regraded up until Dingford Creek. We managed to bump or way to the parking area about .5 miles short of the end of the road. It is just past the huge tree that is down on the road. The weather was perfect but I knew it would change to rain showers later in the day. There is a fisherman's trail that tacks to the NE towards Hardscrabble Creek after joining a old logging road. The (trail) is quite overgrown but was suprisingly easier to follow than I expected. The trail,slash old road, peters out in a huge rockslide that is cairned enough to follow without too much of a problem. Most descriptions of this route have you cross the creek about 2/3 of the way to the lake. I chose not to do this and found fairly easy going all the way to the lake. I managed to catch some nice rainbows in the short time I fished. We debated on what to do next. I had hoped for a summit try of Big Snow Mt via Upper Hardscrabble Lake, but with the impending rain I thought wiser. We decided to just to go to the upper lake. There is small pool above the lower lake if you follow the stream about 100 yards upstream from the start of the pool you will find a good fisherman's trail that will take you to the upper lake. I did a little more fishing until I noticed a gully on the south shore that looked that would take me towards point 5598 which I have seen referred to as Hardscrabble Dome. I zigzagged my way up the heather slopes for about 30 minutes to reach the summit. The views are quite amazing well worth the extra 1000ft of climb. The downclimb went much faster than expected and soon I was back to pick up Justin who had stayed at the lake to catch a nap. I didn't want to linger too long because it was quite apparent the it would rain soon. We hightailed it to the lower lake and just passed the big rockslide when it began to rain in earnest. I was relieved to make it through the hardest part of the descent without rain, however the lower stretches became unpleasant due to the rain on all the brush. We both became quite wet and were most happy when we finally returned to the truck.

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