This is the lake that started things off. It was Adam's suggestion, and Mike Amy, and I rounded out the hiking group that day. It was a straight-forward hike to the lake followed by a steep hike up a near-by nubbin, which provided views of some of the higher peaks off in the distance.
Cameron Lake was an unexpected surprise. Adam saw it on the map and since he likes exploring lakes, he decided we should check it out. I had never heard of it either and I was really pleased to find that it was a great place to visit. That got me wondering about what other hiking trails exist that I had never heard of. Mike and I began looking at maps and found two other lakes, Alp and No Man, also in the southern Madison range. We set a goal to hike to them and like Cameron Lake, those were also delightful trips.
|Quite contemplation at Cameron Lake|
|Hiking to the Nubbin above the lake|
|Ice cream (& a very large picnic table) in Ennis afterwards|
|Various lakes as seen from the ridge line.|
This was my favorite of the outings. Dave Dolph joined Mike, Amy and I for this one night backpacking trip. There are a series of lakes in the vicinity and the open nature of the terrain made bushwhacking from one lake to another really easy and fun.
On the morning of day two, we hiked above our campsite to a ridge-line that offered excellent views of Hilgard Basin and the big peaks in the southern Madison range. Views extended off in all directions and the Tetons were faintly visible in the far horizon. It was here that we first had a look at the No Man Lake area, which we hiked to a few weeks later.
|Thanks to Amy for bringing the birthday sign!|
|Lounging rock in the Alp Lake area|
|Near our campsite at Alp Lake|
|Crocs are perfect for creek crossings & lounging in camp!|
This was the last lake to be explored and it was our biggest adventure. We should have known something was up when a web search for No Man Lake revealed absolutely nothing.
Amy, Mike and I backpacked there for the night, and while we weren't expecting to see too many people, we weren't expecting so many downed trees! It was crazy. Some sort of micro-burst or high-altitude tornado must have come through the area as we estimated it to be one to two miles of constant downed tree to navigate. So tht's why few people visit No Man Lake!
It started off with just a few "regular" downed trees to step over and the escalated into stacks of trees to climb up, over and around. While that part of the trail wasn't too steep, navigating this area with an overnight pack was a slow-moving proposition. Hiking down the trail the next morning was easier but still far from being pleasant. Amy made a game out of counting the trees that crossed the trail on the way down and came up with approximately 300! You should have seen the scratches on our legs after this trip, it was not pretty!
Downed trees aside, No Man Lake was a great place to visit and I'm glad we persevered through the trees to camp there for the night. Steep rock walls rose straight up from the small basin and we found a pleasant spot to camp at in the trees. A few remnants of a dam and some mining activity littered the area and got us thinking about what might have gone on there and when. The next morning brought exploration above the lake before the arduous trip back to the car followed by a hearty meal at the Blue Moon Cafe in Cameron.
Update: I just discovered this post. It looks like this party was at No Man Lake shortly after we were. The funny thing is that they had exactly the same questions/thoughts as we did:
|No Man Falls|
|Mining remnants near No Man Lake|
2) Wow! Look at all these downed trees. I wonder how that happened?
3) It really shouldn't have take us that long to hike 9.5 miles. I wonder how long it would have taken if we didn't have to climb up, over and around all of those damn trees?
4) Hmmm...there's an old dam and signs of mining activity up at the lake. I wonder when that was going on?
|The read adventure begins!|