Canyon creek meadows is a good hike for the entry level hiker. It's about five miles long but can be sprinkled with more fun by visiting the glacial lake at the foot of Three Finger Jack. Let's get started.
The trailhead is located at Jack lake, and requires a five dollar parking fee. Jack lake is a serene little lake, unassuming. The mosquitos can be thick, so prepare for a feast where you are the main course. The day after we went, I was covered with bites. My wife said I must be mosquito bait. Instead of having the flowing hair of Fabio, and the features of Robert Redford, which is the envy of the dudes and melts the hearts of the fair maidens, I'm the guy that is oh so sweet for the blood sucking bugs of the world. I guess it's better than being a poster boy for leeches. There were a lot of new trees sprouting up along the trail, we called one spot the tree corridor. The combination of the two, lake and corridor, was a good start to the journey.
The trail was pleasant and there were strange looking flowers growing. If you know what they are from the picture below, please leave a comment. We would like to have a name for them. Right now, I call them the alien flower.
We followed the trail that so many other travelers before us had tread. It gained altitude slowly. It was a carefree morning and this place fit the bill to a tee. We were led to a few small ponds, and the view of Three Finger was really enticing us to move closer, and closer.
We reached a fork in the trail; one way took us back to the trailhead and the other choice was to a glacial lake at the foot of Three Finger. There were a few people camping at this spot. I was a bit envious that they were still slumbering away. Not so much that I was tired and needed a break. They had the chance to enjoy an evening on the doorstep of a mountain. The fire crackling away while the conversation floats on the breeze as easy as the smoke. Watching the sun set and scrambling into a tent and sleeping bag. It's cool having your living room be dirt, mountains, and trees and your butler is the bees.
The trail started gaining altitude and soon it was into the snow for us. The many different views and conditions changing made this a very enjoyable outing. We met a few travelers headed down and asked about what we could expect on our way to the lake. This is a good place for me to point out that perspective is a good word to keep in mind on the trail. We were told that the snow and the steepness was formidable. That we were a ways from our destination still. Everyone did say that the reward was greater than the effort. We continued on. We were in our trail running shoes so if the snow became to much, we would turn back. Thankfully we were able to keep going without sinking into the snow and it wasn't long before we crested a ridge and found the lake. It makes me laugh a little because T saw it and the first thing she said was, "That's it?" It was still covered in snow and really didn't resemble a lake. The view of Three Finger Jack was very good. There's nothing like standing before a mountain and appreciating how small it makes you feel, while at the same time filling you with a feeling of worth and belonging. Every peak is different, Jack was gnarly enough that I didn't picture myself standing on the summit. I would be content with the view from below.
We were hanging out at the lake viewpoint; T saw a goat, who seemed to be looking at us, from quite a ways away. I interject here to tell you that she, T, that is, not the goat, is a big fan of the rock hopping friends. We had heard that there is a good chance one might see a mountain goat on this trail. She was very happy to get her eyeballs on one. The picture below is a good shot of the goat.
After a rest, we decided to attempt hiking up to the saddle. This proved to be the steepest section of the trail for us. We took it easy and rested often, wasn't long before we made it to our ultimate destination. The views are gorgeous up there. The weather was so nice. What an enjoyable time we had. Canyon Creek Meadows is highly recommended by us. It offers nice, easy hiking and if you choose, more strenuous trails. If our story ended here, that would be good enough. Something very amazing happened while we were on the saddle. First, enjoy these pictures taken from the saddle...
I mentioned earlier that T loves goats. She has four of her own, Lilly, Sam, Benny, and blue. On her water bottle is a sticker that says, "I love goats." When we reached the saddle, off in the distance was a goat walking our way. I've spoken with some of my friends that are hunters, they told me that goats don't have anything to do with us humans. They see us coming, they are going. They prefer their human interaction from a distance. We didn't know this at the time and thought that it was really neat that out friend kept walking closer and closer.
Soon we were yelling at him, T said he was a he so I went with it. He would stop walking and we would invite him closer. He would amble closer. He walked as close as ten to twenty yards from us. He stopped to chow down some fresh Three Finger grass, I hear that's the good stuff. We talked to him, and soon he sauntered on, doing his thing. This whole thing made her day. She still is talking about it. What are the chances of a lady who loves goats, climbing up on a mountain and having a wild mountain goat walk up to her? God does so many extraordinary things for us. It turned a very good day into a day that we will never forget. Our son, who is an avid hunter, has watched the video and is completely blown away by the whole thing. Yes we did. We have a video of the whole trip on the trail, goat included. The link to the video is below. I didn't realize that T had some video on her phone of the goat encounter of the cool kind. I added a second video for your enjoyment.
If you are looking for a place to go hiking that offers variety, consider Canyon Creek Meadows trail loop, and if you're feeling like a goat, be sure to include the short detour trail to the glacial lake at the foot of Three Finger Jack.