Saturday, July 4, 2009

Crevice Lake (almost!)

After driving back from Livingston this morning, Charlotte and I decided to hike to Crevice Lake, an 8.4 mile out and back, this afternoon. The trailhead is located about six miles East of Mammoth, so it didn’t take long to get there.

When we started hiking, the weather was very hot and sunny. We could see dark clouds in the distance, but we decided to try hiking anyways. We started out at the same trailhead that Erica and I used to hike the Rescue Creek trail a few weeks ago. We turned off that trail after about 0.8 miles. The first few miles of trail were through beautiful green meadows, and we could see mountains in the distance. We hiked through the meadow for about two miles, and then descended into a lovely ridgeline alongside a pretty stream.

The beautiful weather when we started hiking

The nice meadow we hiked through

Scary clouds in the distance

As we hiked along the ridge line, we started hearing thunder way off in the distance. We also noticed dark clouds in the direction we were heading. It wasn’t raining, so we decided to try and beat the storm, as we were pretty close to our destination by that point.

Hiking the ridge line

The ridgeline brought us to a very long metal bridge over the river. It was quite a sight to see such a huge bridge in the middle of nowhere! We crossed the bridge, and headed towards Crevice Lake. A couple of minutes after crossing the bridge, the weather turned very quickly. We saw a huge bolt of lightning a few miles in the distance, with loud thunder rumbling within a few seconds. The thunder shook the ground we stood on.

At this point, we decided it was better to be safe than sorry and turned around. It was hard to do, because we were within 0.1 or 0.2 miles from Crevice Lake, but it was definitely the right thing to do. Within a minute it was pouring down rain and the storm was right on top of us. We rushed down the trail as quickly as we could with lightning flashing and thunder shaking the earth.

It was a very scary ordeal for a couple of miles, but then, just as suddenly as the storm hit, it disappeared. All of a sudden, we were walking in sunshine and the storm was behind us. We continued walking in the bright sunshine for the remainder of the hike. It was hard to believe the weather had been so bad just a few minutes and miles before.

Clear skies again

Walking back to the trailhead

Me near the end of the hike

Driving back from the hike, we saw a billowing cloud of smoke behind the dorm. I wondered if it was a lightning strike fire, and sure enough, it was. Luckily, the fire department was already on the scene putting out the small fire.

After the hike, the few people around the dorm this weekend (most were in the Tetons or Beartooths) had a nice little BBQ outside with hot dogs, watermelon, and ice cream. It was a wonderful way to spend the Forth of July.

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