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Lake Clara, Mission Ridge Area, Wenatchee, Wa. 2/13/05

Well I hadn't made any plans for a dayhike, my left ankle still hurting a bit from Lake Serenes fall earlier in the week although Seracer posted some info regarding some trails around The Misson Ridge Ski area or elevating to the ridge line that is the cirque encompassing Misson Ridge Ski area and the path to Misson Peak. I has noticed several TH on the way up to take the family skiing and snow boarding so in the last hour decided well, why not check one of these out. The GMT map shows no trails in the area, I asked and there were no trail pamphlets, so I loaded up my National Geographic Washington TOPO! software and found partial trails and several old road / grade which you could combine to form a trip to the summit. So I had incomplete map info, didn't waypoint any sections, and set out to take a peak at the area. We arrived at the Misson Ridge parking lot at 12pm, they took off for there gear and I started putting everything together (crampons, snowshoes etc...), I used my Osprey 45, a nice little pack which carried everything nicely. I went to unlock the back door of the truck, which has child protection locks and accidentally locked my keys in the running truck shakehead.gif
It was around 25 degrees in the lot and some light but cold winds, made it feel damn cold so eventually the parking lot attendant up there jacked the door and unlocked the thing, I got my stuff together, and was on the trail shortly after 12:30 after calibrating my altimeter watch with my gps elevation readout.. The initial entry trail from the lot does not show up on any maps and gets quickly under way gaining elevation via switchbacks and some up the gut elevation. Initially little snow, but considerable patches of ice, great forest canopy with snow laden trees becoming several inches of snow. The trail met an old graded road (not shown on the map, I crossed it and kept elevating until I hit a second graded road (both appeared to be well on there way to being reclaimed by mother nature). Now starting out I had no expectation given the over 5 mile one way and near 3000' of elevation gain in snow that I was going to make it to Misson Peak starting after 12:30 and back before the place closed, this was just a pinprick into uncharted area to check it out. So at the intersection of road #2 there was a sign Squilchuck Tr 1200 with no direction arrow and beneath it Lake Marion with an arrow pointing to the left or west, underneath that Liberty-BeehiveRd. with an arrow pointing right or eastward. I took the Lake Marion sign and it appeared to have some old boot tracks in the snow now around 4-6' deep, I followed what looked like a narrow trail through thick woods and came to an open area with a dried up marshy looking area followed by a long er narrow but receeded and shallow frozen lake. By the map it didn't look like Marion Lake, but Clara Lake I followed some boot tracks which ended at a campsite overlooking the lake. No more boot tracks or discernible trail from there. I was wishing I would have waypointed a GPS route, because having never been there and having discrepencies with the maps vs. actual trail / road  landmarks I sort of had to trod through the deeper snow now a fine dry powdery snow that was often kicked up by the wind. So I looked around both sides of the lake, it had to be in the teens up there, not including the wind, my winter insulated hydration system had some icing up at and near the mounth piece, nothing to severe though with frequent sips. So I believe I somehow made it between Clara and Marion Lake and proceeded cross country NE across small ridges and talus to point 5740' where I had some trail mix then looked at my watch which showed around 2:30 pm, having to get back before 4:00pm I followd my tracks back to make the truck and lodge (quick latte) before the place closed at 4:00pm. The trail was either totally covered by snow (everything was) and undiscernible or I lost it, or I should have turned on the second grade and followed The Liberty - Beehive Rd. around, eventually the Squilchuck trail runs into that road according to one map and the Liberty - Beehive Rd. takes you to the summit in a roundabout way. Some pics forthcoming, roundtrip 3.5 miles with 1151' elevation gain one way or around 1.75 miles. A nice on the fly dayhike but very nice area so at least an overnighter would be great. Some pics will be forthcoming.

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