Long Lake-Indian Peaks

Friday night I received the text from Jaime, "Are we still meeting tomorrow?"  I knew what this meant.  Jaime was tired and exhausted and wanted to bail on our adventure for tomorrow.  I knew she had a really rough week.  The fact was, I wanted to bail too.  This week was hard and emotional as it looks like we are on borrowed time with my old dog Charlie.  I could skip the time adventuring and sit at home and be sad.  But Jenn chirped in, "Ya!  7am! It looks like I will be at your house at 6:30am right Kate?"  Sigh....it was on, there was no turning back.  I knew it was what I needed, but prying me away from the house sounded like anything but fun.  "Yes....ugh why do we do this to ourselves???"  Jenn simply answered, "Because it's awesome."  She was right.  I didn't feel like doing it, but it was exactly what I needed.

We drove up to Brainard Lake Recreational Area.  Unbeknownst to us, the trailhead was closed to cars, which added an extra 2 miles each way to the trailhead.  It was cold and windy, and still apart of me just wanted to give up, but after driving over an hour, I felt like we should get something out of it.  Our original plan was to make up to Blue Lake but that was looking like a half marathon of hiking, so we opted for Long Lake. 

Two years ago I wasn't a fan of winter.  I used to snowboard but it became too expensive to keep up so I would bundle up in my house and knit and hibernate.  But two years ago Jaime invited Jenn and I snowshoeing and there, on that trip, a love for adventure and winter was born.  I now absolutely love winter hikes.  There is no one else around.  I know I have said that before, but it's amazing and so peaceful.  Just hearing the crunch of our boots on the snow has become a favorite sound. 

When we finally got to the trailhead the snow became deeper.  At some points along the way, we were knee deep in snow.  It took a lot of effort but it was fun.  It was absolutely breathtaking when we reached Long Lake.  I thought about what this would look like at sunrise, and what an amazing spot it would be for an elopement, or even an engagement session.  They could possibly be the most unforgettable photos. 

The lake was frozen solid....kinda.  Jaime and I decided we needed to get on the ice.  Not Jenn though.  She sat on a rock and said, "No.  I'm going to sit here and watch you and eat my beef jerky.  It's not frozen."  So Jaime and I marched down to the lake and I quickly went from tromping in knee deep snow to putting my big old foot right in the "frozen solid lake" up to my mid-calf.  Without skipping a beat, Jenn licked her fingers, didn't look up and said, "I told you so."  That was deserved, but I had good gear.  Waterproof boots, wool socks, two pairs of pants.  So while my foot remained wet the rest of the hike, it never got cold.  I was glad I opted for a good pair of Merrells, rather than the Keds that I saw someone up there hiking in.  As an extra bonus two fighter jets circled the lake.  Jaime says they were F-14, I'm not going to pretend to know what they were, but they are one of my favorite things to watch and hear.  It was the only noise I was okay with up there.

At the end of our 9 mile hike, I was happy, my little sad soul, was a little happie.  I had just spent 4 hours hiking and laughing and just taking in the gorgeous snow capped mountain scenery.  And the best part is when I came home and my dog Charlie was moving just a little bit better.  I never regret going, so why I ever hesitate going I never know.

Here are some photos of our little winter adventure.

This is so much prettier in the winter.

This is so much prettier in the winter.

Hey guys can you pose....uhhh.....thanks....

Hey guys can you pose....uhhh.....thanks....

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These two are my favorite goofs.  They love a good posed shot.

These two are my favorite goofs.  They love a good posed shot.

Fact:  You can pretty much get Jaime to do anything for the camera, and she won't ever fall.

Fact:  You can pretty much get Jaime to do anything for the camera, and she won't ever fall.

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Just laying in the deep snow...

Just laying in the deep snow...

Really deep.

Really deep.

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Kate's camera fatigue also happens to her friends.

Kate's camera fatigue also happens to her friends.

Jaime is majestic.  Again, thanks for doing anything I ask.

Jaime is majestic.  Again, thanks for doing anything I ask.

Cool running.

Cool running.

Seriously, how awesome would it be to get married up here, just you, your fiance, and your photographer.

Seriously, how awesome would it be to get married up here, just you, your fiance, and your photographer.

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I found this funny when Jenn fell, she found it funny when 5 minutes later I was in the lake.

I found this funny when Jenn fell, she found it funny when 5 minutes later I was in the lake.

A little snowfall at the end of our hike made it pretty magical!

A little snowfall at the end of our hike made it pretty magical!