I may have a tattoo of a compass on my back, but I’m terrible with directions. I’m the type of guy that gives directions by describing the buildings on the way to the destination. I carry this lack of direction into the woods with me from time to time.
Trisha, Diesel and I crawled up a ridgeline near Stevens Peak on a chilly spring day. The snow was up to our knees, and our tennis shoes were buried after each step. We looked like two lost joggers on the side of a steep incline.
Let’s back up for a moment. Our goal, prior to getting turned around, was to hike to Lower Stevens Lake. According to the book, this roughly 3-mile out and back trail was a moderate climb and worth the 1,600 ft. elevation gain. We managed to make it to a beautiful, snow covered waterfall two miles in. The steam that fed the waterfall wound its way up the frozen valley. A tall ridgeline surrounded the area, towering over us like a team of frost giants.
A sheet of snow covered the ground, making it difficult to find the trail to Lower Lake. After scanning the area, Trisha and I spotted a footpath that zigzagged up a steep ridge. Boom shakka lakka! We thought we’d be at Lower Lake in no time…
The obscenities uttered on that ridgeline will forever be engrained in my memory. The steep climb, coupled with the slippery slope, transformed my wife’s mouth into a dumpster of curses. I, too, cussed up a storm on that dreadful hike.
On several occasions, Trisha lost her footing and slid into pine trees. I looked back to see the snow falling off some branches as a fresh curse word echoed off the landscape. This hike brought out the worst us.
With a pair of soaked shoes and bruised egos, we managed to scramble our way to the summit of that godforsaken ridge. We made it.
As we took in the beautiful view, our eyes fell on the lake below. We missed the lake completely, hiking all the way up the ridge and just 100 ft. short of the actual summit.
Is there a moral to this story? Not really. I’d recommend following the actual river into Lower Lake once the trail is lost under snow, or hiking during the summer months. Here’s a link to more Steven Lakes trail information.
But getting lost wasn’t all bad. We learned a lot about ourselves on that day. We learned a few new curse words from each other. We made memories.
Have you ever been lost in the wild? Tell us your story in the comments below or connect with us on our Facebook and Instagram! Thanks for reading.