Horse Mountain

July 31-August 2, 1987

An ambitious group of backpackers departed the Elk Lake trailhead at 9:30 p.m., Friday night, July 31st. The air was dry and the cool of the night offered perfect hiking temperature. The trail was pitch dark and although mini mags might be the greatest thing since disposable flashlights, they aren’t exactly made to order for lighting up a trail for a long night hike. With midnight approaching and with flashlights quickly fading, we made camp along a meadow on the Pacific Crest Trail. Members of our party faded off to sleep, under the stars, as they were entertained by frequent colored flares provided by the end of July meteor shower.

On the second day, the group traveled through Island Meadow where a stream of considerable size meandered about and simply disappeared, being absorbed into the earth. Further along, the group negotiated the marshland “Beaver Route” crossing beaver dams and trudging through waist high grass while searching for a campsite on the east end of Horse Lake. Following the establishment of a camp, the group traveled past beautiful emerald green “Mile Lake” and took a sharp left at Park Lake gaining elevation quickly while traveling “cross-country.” High above Park Lake we were stopped by a high rock wall, impassable without ropes. We then traversed the steep exposed slopes westerly until we approached a route which allowed us to reach the top of the plateau on which Horse Mountain is situated. Near the edge of the plateau we found the obscure “Marten Lake” and proceeded south up the slopes of Horse Mountain. Following the afternoon’s climb up to the top of the plateau, the members found the unaided rock scramble to the summit of the ancient peak nearly effortless. The weather was perfect and afforded beautiful views all around us. The return to Horse Lake was mostly by established trail and it included visits to several more hidden mountain lakes. Horse Lake was very cold but offered refreshment to sore bodies and feet resulting from a good high country workout.

Sunday found our group making a five mile round trip to the summit of Red Hill prior to our exit via Sunset Lake. This trip was very enjoyable for all and the leader thanks those group members new to rock scrambling for being such good sports. Thanks for a great weekend to Wilbur Clarke, Eugene Dunkle, Becky Hansen, Betty Macy and Stephen Nutter, from leader Ken Ball!

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