Junco Lake (11,640 ft, 3,548 meters), 07/19/2003

Started hiking at 7:46 from the Wild Basin parking area near the ranger station. By way of Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, we got on the Bluebird Lake Trail, and followed this trail to its end at Bluebird Lake. Walking clockwise along the edge of Bluebird Lake, we went to its southeastern side where there is a break in the steep walls surrounding the lake. From there, we hiked up, out of the lake's basin, then in a southwest direction to the creek that is the outlet of Junco Lake. Before getting to this creek, we had to carefully make our way through some krummholz, but once on the southside of the creek, the going was much easier, along a couple of snowfields and boulderfields. We reached Junco Lake at about 11:20. The lake was beautiful, surrounded by alpine meadow, rock walls, and snow. Ouzel Peak, and Cony Pass were visible from the shore. There were NO other humans visible as we sat near the shore, enjoyed the views, had some water, and took some pictures. Thunderclouds were quickly building, so we soon began our return. Descending the rock and snowfields as we had come, I noticed that Stefan's bootprints in the snow were revealing bright orange and red colors just beneath the surface of the snow. I took a picture of the weird colored snow. Stefan later found out that the redness is due to an algae, and is called watermelon snow. The redness is a defense mechanism against the extreme ultraviolet light at these altitudes. We did not return to Bluebird Lake, but proceeded down along a series of moraines. We soon heard the first intracloud lightning, so we made haste to descend to treeline. Descending a steep snowfield, we quickly reached treeline, where we found a nice waterfall in a meadow interspersed with trees, which we took a picture of. From there we eventually crossed Ouzel Creek, heading north and found the Bluebird Lake trail, which we returned by. There was a brief shower on our return, and we made it back to the truck at about 15:00.

Topomap of Junco Lake Area