Ice of the Woods

Sunset Trail to Big Laguna Trail
(4 miles, +500/-500 feet).

It’s been a very wet winter in SoCal, and recently very cold too.  The last set of storms took the snow level all the way down to 3,000 feet, so we couldn’t wait to get up to Mount Laguna to hike around in it.

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Here we go!!!
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Beautiful sunrise

There were a lot of footprints on trail from yesterday since it was a beautiful Saturday.  There was also the occasional frolic.

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Staypuff Marshmallow Man
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Fork in the road

After doing some cross country and some bushwhacking we made our way to Water of the Woods.  But the water was buried in snow and ice.  It was spectacular!!!

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Water of the Woods
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Blinded by the light
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Half Cookie admires the lake
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A lone guardian of the trail
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This is deep for SoCal!

We made our way into the woods past the lake and headed down towards Big Laguna where the wind was blowing at about 30 miles an hour.

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Beautiful mini-blizzard
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Half Cookie copes with the snowy wind

Soon we were admiring the expanse between the trees.

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Big Laguna
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Big Laguna from the south
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Whew!  We aren’t lost!
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Half Cookie heads towards Big Laguna Meadow
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Big Laguna Meadow

The wind made some beautiful patterns in the meadow.

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A wind-swept ridge

Interestingly, some of the patterns were raised impressions of past hiker activity.  Where skiers compressed the snow into ice, the wind gradually blew the snow around its base to create an elevated highway.  My favorite were the impressions left behind by trekking poles.

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Raised trekking pole impressions

We made our way south on the Big Laguna Trail through the open meadow.

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Half Cookie in Big Laguna Meadow
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We are not alone

At the end of the meadow, snowmelt filled a small dam and flowed over making pretty icicles.

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Waterfall
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Icicles

Soon we reached the end of the meadow and climbed a bit through the woods to close the loop.

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Back into the woods
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Another lone guardian of the trail
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What an amazing day!
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