Lipsey Lake and Otter Falls
July 10, 1999

Even with the Intermediate Class taking up a bunch of my time, Maren and I didn't want to ignore the BoBaby outings completely, so for July we advertised an outing to Lipsey Lake and Otter Falls. The only family that called us to sign up for the trip were the Cirlincionnes, so Saturday morning we met Glenn, Sandy and Dario at the Taylor River trailhead and started our hike.

The way is gentle, almost flat, and it made for easy walking carrying the toddlers and all their support gear. It was going to be a warm day, and the forested shading along the trail was most welcome. We ambled along, pointing out streams and boulders to Bryden and Dario, enjoying the pleasure of just taking our time, knowing there was no hurry to this hike. We stopped for lunch just before the wooden bridge crossing Marten Creek, at some convenient boulders for sitting on along side the trail. After the Marten Creek crossing, things got more interesting than I was expecting. There's a good sized stream that crosses the trail here, and it had washed out a sizeable section of the trail. It was also deep enough that we weren't going to be able to cross it by boulder hopping. Since we were planning on at least wading in Lipsey Lake (depending on how cold the water was), I had brought along my sandals, so I changed into them, which made the fording pretty straightforward. The water was moving pretty swiftly, though, and when Maren crossed with Bryden on her back she was glad to have a hold of my hand for an extra stability point. Glenn and Dario getting ready to wade the 'trail'
Glenn and Dario getting ready to wade the 'trail'
Sandy at the second trail wading
Sandy at the second trail wading
Thinking that was the end of our adventures, and that the rest of the trip would be quite mellow, we continued on until we could just see Otter Falls above us through the trees. A little further along the trail we came to the outlet stream for the falls and Lipsey Lake, and again we had a washed out trail and a small stream fording to make. I still had my sandals on, so it was no big deal, but again the water was rushing around our ankles, and Maren was glad for a hand as she carried Bryden across.
From here, you have to look carefully to find the way trail up to the lake and falls. A few hundred yards past the fording, just after an old fire ring along side the trail, you'll see what really looks more like a shallow trough in the forest duff layer heading up away from the trail. Follow this for all of 5 minutes, and you'll arrive at a delightful little spot for a single tent to be set up. There's a steep trail dropping 20 feet just beyond this, and that will take you right down to the gravely shore of Lipsey Lake. The lake isn't very big, maybe 100 yards one way by 50 yards the other, but the main attraction is Otter Falls, shooting maybe 400 feet down a large 60 degree slab. It's quite beautiful, and with the lake the size it was, the water was a little warmer than snow melt.
Otter Falls
Otter Falls
Matt and Bryden in Lipsey Lake
Matt and Bryden in Lipsey Lake
I waded in and checked the current going out the outflow stream. It was stronger than I'd want Bryden to play in, but as long as he and Dario stayed close to the where the trail came down to the shore, there was virtually no current at all. Not being concerned with modesty at all, Dario and Bryden both stripped out of their diapers and were soon happily skinny dipping in the lake. I wasn't concerned with modesty, but I was concerned with the temperature of the water, and contented myself with just wading up to my thighs, happy not to go any deeper! While we snacked on a little more food, the boys played in the lake until they were shivering and starting to get blue lips. To great protests from Bryden we finally had to pull them out (Bryden could barely complain that he wasn't cold yet, he was shivering so badly!), and get them dried off and dressed for the trip out. They had both obviously expended a fair amount of energy playing, as they both napped very soundly on the short hike back to the cars. Glenn and Dario in Lipsey Lake
Glenn and Dario in Lipsey Lake

This is a great destination for toddlers and youngsters. The lake is only about 4 miles from the trailhead, and I believe it's only about 400 feet of elevation gain, so it's virtually flat. The trail is a little bumpy for toddlers to walk easily on, and you'll definitely want to carry them across the two stream fordings, but otherwise it's an easy day out to a beautiful falls, and a pretty little lake to play in.


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