Big 4 Snow Caves and Lake 22
May 9, 1998

We were supposed to meet our friends Al and Michelle for a hike this Saturday morning. However, we left late, discovered Maren had left her boots so we had to run back home, then we waited for Al and Michelle at the wrong Park and Ride, so we ended up with a day by ourselves. Determined to make the best of it, we headed up to the new trailhead parking area for Big 4. We had talked about hiking into the snow fields there (the snow/ice caves don't melt out until later in the season), so we had some hope of still running into Al and Michelle. They weren't there, but we hiked the short trail to the base of Big 4 anyway. Bryden liked going over the boardwalk that bridged the marshy area, really enjoying looking down into the water there. He also liked the bridges across the little creeks, and walked across both on his own (holding mom and dad's hands). Once at the end of the trail, Maren took Bryden down onto the snow for some pictures, staying well away from the cliff faces themselves, just in case a late season avalanche should thunder down.

It was still quite early in the day by the time we returned to the car, so we decided to head up to Lake 22 - I'd done some trail maintenance there last year, and wanted to show off my wonderfully resituated culvert to Maren! The trail was in excellent shape, and showed signs of a work party already having been out on it this year. I never was able to spot my culvert, but Maren was still appreciative of the clear drainage ditches I'd helped to clean!

Once we continued past where I'd done the trail work, we both came to realize that the true draw of this trail isn't the lake at the end (although that was nice), but the spectacular waterfalls running full force this time of the year. There are short unofficial side trails running down to vantage points at several spots along the trail that give fabulous views of stunning waterfalls - some of the prettiest I've seen. We continued up the trail to the lake at trail's end where we sat down on the snow and ice for a bite of lunch. Bryden was all bundled up, and received many comments about how wonderful it was to be bringing a young child like him into an area like this. Many people were admiring of Maren's strength for carrying him all the way up here also. After nibbling on a little lunch, I picked up Bryden and walked a short ways out onto the lake ice for Maren to get a picture. Unfortunately, I walked just a tad too far, and before I could fully react I could feel icy water filling my hiking boot as my foot headed for the bottom of the lake - it was only a couple of feet deep here, but still an unpleasant shock! My feet were warm from hiking, so I was able to warm the ice water up fairly quickly, and we stayed on the shores of the lake a little longer to finish lunch, and gaze out into the fog and mist shrouding the lake. We could hear snow slides and rockfall crashing and splashing down the other side of the lake, but the views were hidden from us by the damp air. On the way down we stopped at each of the viewpoints to gaze at the waterfalls again, then headed for home - happy to have been out on such a beautiful day, but sad to have missed having our friends along.

Last updated: April 3, 2001