The sun finally shone in Mullan on Sunday! Forrest had to work so Sprocket and I headed out for some fun. We rode the quad up Willow Creek Road as far as we could before being stopped by snow. I pulled out my snowshoes and up the road we went; I was glad to have them. The snow was plenty firm in the shade but what can only be called slush in the sun—by the end of the hike even Sprocket, the biggest snow walking devotee ever had given up on it.
After alternating between snow and exposed dirt for awhile we came to a junction. Having not been up this way before I wasn’t totally sure which way we should head to get to Stevens Lakes but before I could think about it too hard I spotted a large tank of some kind in the creek. Around here, debris like that indicates that there was mining activity. It didn’t take me too long to look around and see some more metal scraps and then the dead giveaway lush moss that grows at the opening of flooded mines. This one looked really intact!
After we’d checked out the mine shaft (it was hard to convince Sprocket he shouldn’t go swim in there!) we headed up the trail again. As I was walking down the trail/road, Sprocket desperately wanted to jump up this bank. He always catches up so I kept walking but he kept trying to get up on the bank; looking back to see what was going on I saw the trail sign pointing up a tiny switchback hard to pick out in the spotty snow that lead to the top of that bank. Sprocket wins.
It wasn’t too long though before we reached a scree slope and the two of us together just couldn’t find the trail on the other side and decided to turn around. When I got home, I found out that we’d been within three quarters of a mile from the lake that was my “unstated” goal for the hike. I’m sure it would have been really pretty! I’ll probably try again in the next week or so.
It felt really good to get out and wander with Sprocket and hike around. And the scenery? It wasn’t too bad either.