Getting his feet in snow makes H very happy
The very first part of the trail we'd done already, way back last fall when we climbed to Red Pine Lake. But once we turned onto the WPL trail it was all new, climbing up through forests, alpine meadows and a rocky glacial bowl, and crossing innumerable streams and creeks. Much of the hike was shaded, which didn't really matter since the day was fairly cloudy; we were actually grateful for the clouds when we got to the glacial bowl because it is completely exposed.
Not much wildlife: chipmunks, squirrels and my first sighting of a wild pika - aDORable, like a baby rabbit but with little round ears. But the wildflowers were absolutely spectacular, the best we've seen this summer. I still have no idea what the names of any of them are called but the colors included white, yellow, lavender, purple, blue, pale pink, magenta, fuschia. Just stunning.
First sight of White Pine Lake
Also stunning: White Pine Lake. As we rounded a switchback, the lake lay out in front of us, a dark turquoise blue, ringed with stony cliffs. It's hemmed in by a rock dam and fed by a pretty mountain stream that rushes down a lush grassy slope. We didn't linger because we were keeping an eye on the weather (smartly, as the afternoon thunderstorms did eventually roll in) and H and I decided to come back up to White Pine Lake on a perfectly clear day so we could explore, fish (they were jumping!) and basically sit around and stare at all the beauty. Our guidebook says that WPL is one of the prettiest lakes in the state and I can't see how it couldn't be.
We'll go back and get another shot when the sky is clear
It took us 2 hours to go up and 2 hours and 2 minutes to come down (book said 5-7 hours so we obviously kick ass). The only bad part about this hike is the footing on the trail. It's very rocky and loose in sections, so even though it wasn't that steep, the descent took us longer than we expected because we had to watch where you stepped. Still, some stubbed toes were a small price to pay for the scenic jackpot. I can't wait to do it again.