Monday, September 10, 2012

Seven Lakes Trail

Day 3 of the Labor Day Mountain-Trail-a-Thon

That “early” start for the day was working well for us.  So, another leisurely breakfast was prepared and thoroughly enjoyed, as my bro made a mean skillet of scrambled eggs.  Hard to believe we even had an appetite after the ton of grilled shrimp we ate the night before.  Conversation led to the idea that if we were a tribe, we’d probably be called the “Shrimp Eaters.”  Taking it a step further, we’d each be given Indian names too.  Contemplating the possibilities, my brother suggested that his friend’s name would have to be Chief Questionable Judgment, based on his experience with him on an earlier epic motorcycle ride.  After a hearty chuckle, the tribe voted unanimously in favor of the title and vowed to honor the lead of Chief Q J! We didn’t get around to other names, but my brother’s might be Stands Close to Grill, or Follows Close Behind. Mine might be Talks Too Much or Bounces Over Boulders… We’ll have to leave that discussion for another rendezvous.

At 10:30 a.m. the guys got to work on the brake line of my brother’s motorcycle. It appeared the welding job worked, but after bleeding the line, the brake fluid wasn’t filling the tube as it should.  I have to hand it to the guys for persevering and problem solving until it was fixed.  And, it appeared that the front brake was again operational!  My brother asked, “Is it too late to head out for another ride?”  I replied, “No, it’s not too late!  We can still make a trip.” So, we packed sandwiches and gear and were headed out by the crack of noon.  Destination: Union Pass and the Seven Lakes Trail.

We were unloaded and ready to roll by about 3:00 p.m.  The red Honda, again, was obstinate and had to be kicked, rolled downhill into a stream, and threatened to be left behind.  Oooh, that did the trick.  It fired up, and we were on our way. 

 The trail started to gain altitude quickly, and shortly we topped out on a hill where we could look back over our shoulders to the west and see a beautiful view.  Lake of the Woods was visible below, and on the horizon, we could see the Grand Tetons and Mt. Moran!  I wish the pictures showed how clearly we could see these spectacular peaks.  

In the middle of the picture, on the horizon, you might be able to make out a very faint outline of the Tetons.
We were headed east toward the base of the vertical finger glacier on the dark mountain in the middle of the picture.

Then, continuing east, we steadily climbed until we got to the top of Union Peak.  The guys climbed up on top of the rocky knob to see the best view, but also to determine how much further to go and what lakes we might be able to see.   It was windy and brisk, as we were at an elevation of 11,400 ft. 

We were headed for the area at the base of the dark cliff on the right.

The decision was to go on down to one of the lakes, and there we would stop, eat our sandwiches, and enjoy the beauty of the high mountain scenery. Whew, the trail was filled with small boulders, and for me it was a pretty rough ride. My arms got a work-out. The trail actually went all the way into Granite Lake.  However, with the sun getting lower in the sky, it seemed best to stop at Marion Lake; we had traveled 10 miles.   

Marion Lake
We enjoyed the view of the lake long enough to eat, and then decided to head back (5:00 p.m.) and ride out as quickly as possible.  My brother put me in the lead so that he and Chief Questionable Judgment could minimize any mishaps and get off the mountain before dark.  We cruised/slid/bounced it out in an hour and were back at the truck by 6:00 p.m.  Yeehaw!  Good timing.  Good scenery.  Good weather.  Good brakes.  Good ride!!

We finished off the evening with good food, a meal at the famed Cowboy Café in Dubois.


  1. Even with the late start, you put in a full day's ride. Great photos - I could make out the Tetons & Mt. Moran (my favorite mountain in the range, by the way).