Thursday, August 18, 2011

Minotaur & Theseus Lakes - by Brad

During high school I went backpacking a couple times up to Lake Minotaur with my youth group. The amazing scenery and lack of people made it quickly become my favorite hike. When Lindsey and I were dating 12 years ago, we hiked up there for a day hike, and the last time we were up there was when we went backpacking with Mike and Becky 8 years ago.

We were due to make the hike again, and my parents were willing to watch our boys since the hike isn't really kid-friendly. So yesterday, Lindsey and I woke up at 5:45, left our house at 6:20, stopped at the Leavenworth Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich and caffeine, then continued up Highway 2 toward our destination. We arrived at the trail head and started hiking at 8:05.


To give an idea of what the terrain looks like, I copied an image from Google Earth...


The hike in is less than 2 miles, but you gain almost 2,000 feet over that duration. The first mile is very steep and forested. After we broke out of the forest, there were still patches of snow that were covering the trail. I had never seen that in the other four times I had been up there! Shortly before we got to the lake we saw a patch of dead trees that was certainly worth a few photos... especially with such a perfect blue sky behind them...


When you get to Minotaur, you are greeted with an amazing view. Check out the 360 Panorama at http://360.io/VRacER...


We toured around taking pictures at Minotaur for a while... if you want to see some more Panoramic pictures we took at Minotaur, check out...




We headed toward the ridge that overlooks Lake Theseus...


Just so you can see how clear the water is in these lakes, here is a closer picture of the island in Lake Theseus...


From Minotaur, there seems to only be one way down to Theseus, which involves hiking down a steep chute and climbing over a rock slide field. The top center of the ridge in this picture shows where we came down...


For a couple Panoramic pictures at Theseus, check out...



Off to the left side of Theseus is a meadow with a pond in the middle. There are several little streams that wind around into this pond. There were several frogs there and the pond was full of tadpoles. It was a fun place to peruse and take pictures...


The large rocks slide has created some need caves under the gain boulders that have fallen. I crawled under one and got a neat photo of the Theseus island...


After we made it back up to Minotaur, we stopped to have lunch. After a couple minutes of holding still, we were swarmed with mosquitoes. We were wearing heavy mosquito repellent, but we still preferred to eat while we were hiking so they wouldn't annoy us so much. I think overall, we only got a few mosquito bites, so I think that was pretty successful. After our hiking lunch, we headed up toward the peak of the ridge, Labyrinth Mountain. We couldn't get all the way to the top because there was quite a bit of snow covering the trail and we didn't have enough time to try to blaze our own trail. So we wandered around for a while and headed back down...


Thanks to the mosquitoes who never let us sit for more than a couple minutes, we hiked from 8:00 to 4:30. The best part about these lakes is that so few people ever hike up to them. There was not another person up there all day long! Just Lindsey and I and some amazing views!

2 comments:

Peaby said...

very cool! any badgers or bees?

Brad said...

No badgers... although we looked for them. There were bees buzzing all around, but we didn't stick our noses into their hive this time. We almost hit a deer on the drive there, but otherwise the only wildlife we saw were marmots, pikas, frogs, bees and mosquitos.