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  • J.F. Rowan

Lost Lake Slough

Kepplers Pass

Stopping for snack on our way to Lost Lake Slough

After backing out of as a result of a wrong turn, we continued up the forest road to Erickson’s Springs. A bit ironic in that the correct entrance was less than 500 feet from where we made the wrong turn. Erickson’s Springs is another National Forest campground but as it turned out, the campsites were too close together and still a bit close to the road. A quick look at the map revealed another campground further along the forest road called Lost Lake Slough.

Lost Lake Slough

Morning coffee view. The evening brings rainbow trout boiling at the serfuce.

The forest road quickly turned to dirt and was about 50-75% washboard. The washboard was somewhat navigable so our fillings remained intact. We stopped at an overlook for a snack and just to generally reflect about the mornings' adventure on the “goat path.” If you haven’t read about our little episode about making a wrong turn, click here. We both took another hard look at the map and decided that we were still about 10 miles from our new destination, Lost Lake Slough. We stowed the maps and continued on gaining altitude with every mile.

Lost Lake

Outlet at Lost Lake Slough.

By the time we reached the campground, it was about 2 in the afternoon. As you drive in, you don’t really see what the view will be like until you’re right inside the campground itself but boy, what a view! And to top it all off, hardly anyone else was there. We picked a spot that had a small trail leading to the waters edge not 40 feet from our campsite and had just room enough for our two chairs. After setting up camp, I quickly assembled my fishing pole and headed to the lake. 30 minutes later I had a 14” Rainbow trout cleaned and in my #7 Griswold with copious amounts of butter. Armed with two forks, I took the pan to the picnic table and Yvette and I had some of the best fish you’d ever sink your teeth into.

Dollar Lake

Dollar Lake, about 1/2 mile from Lost Lake Slough

The 2nd photo from the top gives you a good indication of what we saw during every meal that we would have for the next 3 days. Honestly, neither one us have ever seen anything quite like this and for me at least, was hitting 10.0 on the “Beauty Richter Scale.” We hiked a 3.5-mile trail that encompassed the lake and would also reveal two other lakes hidden in the forest, Lost Lake (not to be confused with Lost Lake Slough) and Dollar Lake. Along the way, we crossed over a small river that ran from Lost Lake Slough and was amazed as to its clarity. Schools of trout could easily be seen swimming against the cool clear current feeding on whatever food was filtering from the lake. At one point I stood and looked at the view as the river flowed past. It was one of those moments where you blink several times just to make sure you’re awake, or that you’re really present. It was one of those views where you want to stand and stare until you die.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake which eventually runs into Lost Lake Slough

The rest of the hike was just as revealing. I didn’t do to bad for a guy that’s probably not in the best of shape especially at our altitude of just over 10,000 feet. You just start slow and work up to where your breathing and heart say, “okay, this speed is good.” For me, I don’t like to start and stop too much, I’d rather set a pace and stay with it. If I stop, I like to stop for more than five minutes. It can be one of those things that couples have to get used to when doing this sort of thing full time. But I think we’ve worked it out. I lag behind and stay steady while Yvette can start and stop as much as she likes. Though I have to admit, I was stopping more than usual to take in the gorgeous views that always seemed to be around every corner.

Lost Lake Slough Trail

Trail as it loops around back to Lost Lake Slough

The only drawback to this location was the dust. Things were so dry here that even someone walking past our campsite, coupled with the wind, would kick up enough dust to get stuck in your teeth. And campgrounds are usually designed in loops so that everyone that drives through will more than likely drive by every single site in the campground, even if they are just driving in to “look around.” So as gorgeous as this place was, the dust played a huge factor when it was time to decide whether or not we should leave. Plus we had a rally to get to. So we said our goodbyes to this Lost Lake Slough. We will be back though, you can count on it.

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