3/27/2015 – Indian Heaven Backpack Trip

Date of Hike: 3/27/2015
Location of Hike: Thomas Lake Trail
Trail Number: 111
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly
Start Time: 10:45 AM
End Time: 2:10 PM
Hike Distance: 6 miles
Pictures: Link
Hike Map:


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Description of Hike:
This was to be a quick backpack trip into the Indian Heaven Wilderness. In a normal year, this would not have been accessible at all in March, but due to the extreme low snow this year and recent trip reports from the area, we were hopeful we would be able to make it.

We knew going in it was going to be a little iffy due to the snow that was received the prior week – it was the first snow at 4000-5000′ in a couple of months probably. We decided to chance it anyway. I recorded GPS routes of the trail, so we could follow even if it was covered in snow.

We got to the trailhead about 10:30 – there was almost no snow at the trailhead – just a few small patches. There were 3 other vehicles there, so we knew someone was hiking the trail. We headed out, up the trail to Thomas Lake. This lake was completely melted out, with really no snow:


We poked around the lake for a bit and then headed up the trail. From here, the trail headed uphill rather steeply. Fortunately, it was a short steep section. We shortly popped out onto a flat meadow, which had a fair bit of snow, and was REALLY wet and muddy:

We headed up a bit more, and got to Naha Lake, which was still frozen over:

Although the trail wasn’t too bad at this point:

We went past Naha Lake, and up to this point had a really good track from others. It was at this point the track kind of fell apart – there were footprints everywhere:

And the snow was getting quite a bit deeper (and it was all really soft):

It is hard to tell from the photos, but the sky was getting dark as well. The forecast called for 100% chance of rain on Friday night, and the clouds looked like it was starting to roll in. I wanted to make sure we had setup camp before the rain started. We talked a bit, and decided that it would be too difficult without snowshoes to do the loop we wanted to do. Since we were unable to get to much farther down the trail, we decided it really wasn’t worth camping – we would just camp out, then pack up and head out in the morning. So, we decided to hike back out and come home. No overnight on this trip.

On the way back, we stopped at Eunice Lake to eat lunch.

We also explored a few campsites (in this area you can only camp in designated sites) – they were WAY off the trail, and a good ways from the lake – they like to keep 200′ from water.

After exploring the campsites, we headed back down to the truck and drove home. Not quite the trip we were expecting, but it was still interesting to see this new wilderness area. I think this would be a great place to go later in the summer when it has all dried out.

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