I went hiking with my mom, my dad, and our dog on Oct. 31, 2020 because that day had very nice weather and trail conditions. Previous trip reports said that road and ice conditions may be tough. So, we were aware of that.
We prepared food, snacks, water, backpacks, medical supplies, poles, spikes, clothes, boots, caps, and snacks for our dog. What we mistakenly didn’t bring was sunscreen, gaiters, and sunglasses. Be careful to double check your things!
We got up at 5:30am and ate a small breakfast. My mom set up the Alltrails, and we headed out for the hiking expecting to see a lot of snow.
It took us about 3.5 hours getting to the trailhead. When we got there at 9:30am, the weather was cold and clear. The parking lot had only 10 cars. The road was icy and snowy around the parking lot. We saw a few other people also get ready for the hike.
We started our hike with a clockwise route. We met a couple who said they missed the trail, but we didn’t pay much attention. We continued until my mom checked with Alltrails and found we were off route. The trail we were on was to Rainy Lake. Luckily, we did not go very far, so we quickly turn back and found the turn. On the way back we found another group who also missed the turn. So be careful, it was very easy to miss the turn. The turn was just about 10 minutes after the trailhead with clockwise start. A lot of people missed the Maple Pass Trail because the Rainy Lake trail was very noticeable while the Maple Pass Trail was easy to miss especially when covered by snow.
On the way up, the snow made us tired. There were icicles, and trees with moss on it. We had to gain a lot of elevation on the middle section of the trail. But the view was great. We could see Rainy Lake. We also saw some golden larches still with leaves on.
The last part to the top of the pass was the hardest. There were steep hills and lots of snow. My dad made to the top first. We sat down and ate food and my dog’s feet were cold. I was cold too.
When we reached the top, I noticed that snow piling up by layers from the wind blowing. We took breaks over there. I sledded with my dog. My feet were cold. We decided to head down quickly. It was windy which made me feel even colder.
On the way down, we saw Lake Ann. The way down was interesting. There was snow on the trail but very few on both sides. I was not sure how this happened. Maybe it was the plant’s respiration process that made the snow melt quickly. We also saw icicles on the side of the trail created by water rushing down. We had to be very careful because the cliff was steep.
My body and feet started to feel itchy on the way down. The water and coldness and light made my feet uneasy. I twitched. We walked quicker back to the trailhead.
When we went back to the trailhead, I relaxed in the warm air in my car. We were very happy that we finished the loop in 5 hours which gave us enough time to head back home before it got dark.
This hike was overall fun. We got to see the beautiful views except the coldness and itchiness. When you go there, be careful about gears and road conditions and the turn if you take clockwise.