trail report: hidden lake
I appreciated the tip on trail conditions to Eagle & Symphony Lakes in this forum, so I thought I'd post a trail report from my hike to Hidden Lake (off the powerline trail) on Sunday (6/4/06).
basically, there is a lot of snow still on this hike. Even the powerline trail is not completely snow-free as you get close to the intersection with the hidden lake trail. After fording the shallow creek (it looked like you might be able to hop across on some wet rocks, but I didn't trust my balance and didn't want to risk getting my camera wet) it is first pretty deep mud (that can be avoided somewhat by leaving the trail) and then rotten snow as you go through a little pine forest. After a long stretch of mostly dry trail, you hit some really huge stretches of snow that you can't get around. The good news is that it is very heavy, dense snow, so post-holing was only occassional: you can mostly walk on top of it. Still, I was happy to have my gaitors for the occassional step where I sunk above my knees. Once I got close to the lake, I climbed the ridge to the right (south) of the lake rather than approaching the lake itself, mostly to avoid yet more snow. The lake is still partially frozen.
I thought about trying to hike to the saddle overlooking ship lake, but there was even more snow in that direction so I decided to call it a day. It did look passable to the saddle as long as you were willing to hike over some big patches of snow.
Bottom line: doable, but probably a little early in the season for it. On the other hand, I only saw one other hiker after I forded the stream, so the solitude factor is probably higher now than it will be later in the season.