the walt bailey trail to cutthroat lakes

This was one of the first little cutthroat lakes I arrived at via the Walt Bailey trail. Somehow, the lakes basin looked and felt exactly like I thought it would- a certain rugged, unkempt aura which I find appealing. Gnarled, twisted trees and pothole tarns seemingly around every corner.The day was not ideal for shooting but I witnessed some very interesting light, right off the bat like here in this scene. This is a northwesterly view at about 4200 feet.

It’s 4 miles and 1,800 feet of elevation gain to reach this lakelet and continuing up to Bald Mountain adds another very scenic mile and a few hundred feet of upwardness. The Walt Bailey trail was homemade back in the day (by a former member of the Civilian Conservation Corps and his band of recruited volunteers) and it feels that way over certain pronounced sections of roots, rocks and upsy-downsies but I didn’t find it particularly disagreeable- it’s hewn to its surroundings. By the time I reached the west side of Bald Mountain and the start of the short scramble…… the cloud deck had dropped below the summit (even Spada Lake was barely visible). Chagrined but not chained to the idea of the tippy-top for my ego’s sake, I instead ventured a quarter mile along a horribly overgrown Bald Mountain trail. Suffice to say, my original plan for following that path north to Ashland Lakes where my prearranged shuttle awaited was ignominiously squelched and as if to add an exclamation point of humiliation I took a painful slip-and-fall on soaking-wet blueberries and alder!

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