The closest lake to High Camp doesn’t have a name
It is easy for me to ski what I know, to return time and time again to my favorite places in the mountains. I think I’ve skied McCue Ridge, for example, in every imaginable snow condition and seen countless sunrises from the high point. I love returning to places and getting to know them intimately, sharing them with friends and describing to guests how to follow my tracks and experience them too. But it is also so refreshing to go somewhere new. Yesterday I visited two lakes I’d never been to before. One of them I didn’t even know it existed despite the fact that they are both only a couple miles away from camp. In fact, the larger of the two is the closest lake to High Camp.
Yesterday after the biting wind drove me out of the High Meadows I took an unexpected left turn instead of going back to camp. I crossed over Lonesome ridge thinking that I’d follow the ridge down to the P-road before climbing back to camp. But then I remembered that a fisherman had once asked me about a small lake he had seen on the map. I’d overlooked it before and never heard of it. That was several years ago. Up on Lonesome Ridge I remembered that mental post-it note to find that small lake. I looked up its location on my phone and pointed my skies towards the small unnamed lake.
Playful, relatively low angle, tree skiing took me to the first lake. It is tucked in the trees below a striking overhanging cliff and an enticing open pillow field. While navigating to the first lake I noticed a second unnamed lake on the map quite close by. I had to go visit it too! After visiting these two little lakes I got onto a maze of logging roads that eventually took me to the P-road, familiar terrain. I raced back to camp to make it to the potluck, thoroughly invigorated having spent several hours in unfamiliar places so close to home. It is easy to follow the beaten path but sometimes it is just as easy, and sometimes more gratifying, to turn left, start breaking trail, and discover new places.
As a crow flies, the larger of the two unnamed lakes is just 1.4 miles from camp, meaning that it is actually the closest lake to camp, closer than Lake Julius by .09 miles. I’d never been there or heard about anyone else going there either. Crazy.
Chris thinks we should name the lakes. Any thoughts? We are open to ideas. “Bill” and “Peg” would be fitting after the founders of High Camp. I also think there is something awesome (yes, in the sense of inspiring awe) about places that have escaped humans natural urge to name. So maybe we should leave them as they are: little noticed and seldom visited (by humans) ponds, without names.