I checked a trail website and the trail was given five stars (accurate) and a rating of easy (not even close to accurate). The trail started at Woods Lake, at 8200 feet elevation, and climbed to 9400 feet at the summit. If we had known that the hike was three miles straight up, and then three miles back down, I'm not sure we would have attempted it. Brett is doing great with his knee replacements but he wasn't at all sure that the supporting muscles were ready.
But, we were oblivious and so we set off from the Woods Lake trail head and started climbing. After hiking through the pines, we came into a green valley. The trail climbed at the base with a stream tumbling to our right, and wildflowers stretching up the hillside as far as we could see.
We took it slow -- partly because of the steep climb, partly because of the elevation, and partly because I was taking photo after photo after photo. We've both been on beautiful hikes before, but this took the cake.
We reached Winnemucca Lake at lunch time. Okay, it wasn't lunch time but we were hungry so we stopped and ate our lunch.
From Winnemucca Lake, the trail continued to climb. Parts of the trail were still covered in snow.
We came across these huskies who were leaping around their owner, full of joy and play, clearly in their element. The owner let me take a picture, then he leaned back on his heels and the dogs pulled him across the snow.
We stopped again at the summit and caught our breath.
A short way further down the trail, we came to Round Top Lake. There was a spur trail that went to 4th of July Lake -- but we didn't take it. We were tired of climbing.
The trail back down to Woods Lake was also steep.
We had to cross another stream and the log, which served as a bridge, was a bit too high for Brett to comfortably use. He wasn't sure that he could clamber up on the log and then stand without losing his balance. So, he used the log as a handrail and stepped across on the rocks.
We passed an old mine (there is a reason that this area is called the "Gold Country"); the mine opening (fenced closed for protection), the foundation of an old cabin, a rusty model T car, and other debris. Brett was fascinated. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of it.
We will definitely take this trail again. It wasn't easy, but it was do-able. And worth doing again.