This hike has something for everyone in terms of views: a nice little pond, meadows full of wildflowers, lake shore, distant mountain views and a walk through the woods. Plus there is a very possibility of animal sightings along the trail, particularly waterfowl and small mammals in the woods and near Storm Point. It is a short, easy hike, but well worth the hour or so it took us to complete the loop.
It was right around 11:30 when we pulled into the parking at the Storm Point trailhead (I think actually sort of the “overflow” parking area which is a little further away from Indian Pond). The weather was considerably warmer than this morning at Roosevelt, but still comfortable for a nice hike, probably around 80 degrees F. We were hiking under bright blue skies with a few fluffy, white clouds scattered over the mountains. The trail is a lollipop route. Once past Indian Pond, we went clockwise around the loop, so along the lakeshore first to Storm Point than back through the woods. The EveryTrail app on my phone showed our track to be 2.7 miles and it took us right at an hour to complete the hike.
I thought there was going t be a crowd on the trail based on the number of cars at the trailhead parking, but once we got past Indian Pond we had the trail mostly to ourselves (this has been a common theme for our hikes this trip). Perhaps the trail is more crowded earlier in the day with the Ranger-led hike. There were several folks out enjoying the wildflowers in the meadow adjacent to Indian Pond; it was another explosion of color along this stretch of the trail. Purple and blue were the primary hues in this area with highlights of yellow and white.
When we reached the split in the trail we took the left fork which took us directly to the lake shore along Mary Bay. The midday sun was a little harsh but the views across the lake to the distant mountains were still quite lovely. There was a large flotilla of Barrow’s Goldeneyes bobbing in the water near the shore. The trail mostly stayed along the edge of the bay but well above the water for most of the part of the hike. As I recall, the point where the trail first reaches lake is at water level and there is one stream crossing on a small bridge, but for the most part the trail is 15 feet or so above the lake surface with an abrupt drop to the water. Once across the little creek, the trail turns south through the woods but along the water’s edge. We saw a few chipmunks and squirrels foraging amongst the pine trees.
The trail turns inland for a short stretch before breaking out of the trees into another wildflower filled meadow just short of Storm Point. This was the highlight area of the hike, the part of the trail around this open area and out to Storm Point. Lovely views across the lake to the south and east, more amazing wildflowers and a few marmots out sunning themselves. The only folks we saw out here was an older couple, park volunteers, who were having a picnic at the point and taking a break from their trail maintenance chores. We chatted with this briefly while enjoying the views from Storm Point and then continued on our way around the loop. The return trail through the woods is actually sort of dull, at least at this time of day. It is a nice walk through a stand of lodgepole pines and there were scores of downed trees (that’s why the volunteers back at Storm Point at a chainsaw). There is probably a lot of bird activity here at the right time of day, but at noon not so much.
The trail again emerges back into the wildflower coated meadow next to Indian Pond. There were a couple of folks with an elaborate camera setup taking close-ups of the flora. They were focusing (no pun intended) on an odd looking thistle looking plant. Lynn also thought this was an interesting specimen that we later found out was Elk Thistle. We enjoyed our walk through the field of flowers, snapped a few more photos and headed back to the trailhead. Again there were more folks in this meadow than anywhere else along the trail; why not, it was a beautiful sight with the flowers, the pond, the blue sky and white clouds and the distant backdrop of the mountains. What’s not to like.
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