Maggie Lakes


Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest times in the National Forest for recreation. It is the last three day weekend for many until November. The last “hoorah” before summer ends. Even though I had been to Maggie Lakes a couple of times they were all for work. This time the trip was going to be for pure enjoyment.

The trip was originally scheduled back in June. Some changes in plans pushed the trip back until Labor Day weekend in September. Diana invited another couple to join us, Andy and Karen, from work. We would leave from Diana’s parents place early Saturday morning and arrive that same night. Sunday was set aside for whatever we wanted to do. Monday was the trek back down the mountain and eventually back home.

Saturday – September 5th

I arrived at Diana’s parents house around 630 AM. Andy, Karen, and Diana drove up the night before. They were all packed and ready to go. Andy started making breakfast for everyone, Diana made blueberry muffins, Karen sipped her coffee, and I socialized and help pack a couple of things. Though we had planned to leave around 7AM we actually left around 8AM. We piled the gear into Karen’s SUV and all rode up to the trailhead. We shared stories, talk about our jobs, and enjoyed getting to know one another for the two hours we were in the vehicle.

Arriving at the trailhead, we made some last minute preparations before starting our hike. Once the boots were on and the bushes were watered, we were on our way down the trail. We had 9 miles to go that day and, in my opinion, three big pulls to do before we were at Maggie Lakes.

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We all took photos near the Wilderness boundary sign as we walked down to South Mountaineer Creek. The trail needed some work, but the trek down was comfortable and the air was refreshingly cool. Once we crossed over the creek and progressed uphill about a quarter of a mile, we saw stands of trees covered in moss. The snow level gets pretty high as the moss demonstrated along the bark.



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After about 2 miles along the trail, our fist pull of the day was now over with. To reward ourselves we broke for lunch along the ridge line. Just west of us one could see a view of the valley. Even though it was amazing to see, it was disgusting at the same time. The wildfires from southern California and valley pollution distorted the view. We were glad we had removed ourselves from it for a few days.

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Once lunch was done, we continued on to Maggie Lakes. We had 7 miles to go and around 7 hours of day light left to get there. Our biggest pull of the day started at Mowery Meadow. We had to climb uphill for approximately 3 miles. The trail wasn’t difficult all the way. The first part was the worse and the rest was a gradual climb. We did see various stringer meadows along the way.

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We took a quick snack break around mile 5. It spot was right along side a meadow in the area. The air was still cool outside, so everyone cooled off quickly. After our snack break we continued on till we hit the leveled area above Alpine Meadow. The old Maggie Fire went through part of this area too.

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Our final climb was to the “pass” as I like to call it. It resides at about 9200 feet in elevation and you get an amazing view into Pecks Canyon and of Maggie Mountain. We took another break there around 430 PM. We were all getting tired and hungry. With only 2 miles left and mostly downhill, the hike didn’t take long.

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We arrived at Maggie Lakes at 6 PM. We were all happy to have made it to our final destination. Once we found a campsite we noticed we were the only ones in the area. We had the lake to ourselves! In order to celebrate, the first thing we did we get the water boiling for dinner. Some of us changed our clothes while others at least put something warmer and dryer on. There was a breeze that entire evening and small gusts throughout the night.

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As the evening progressed we started a campfire. We had a full moon that night and as it journeyed high into the starlit sky, we watched and enjoyed the light it brought forth. The lake was lit up, the water reflecting the moon, and the silhouette of the Maggie Mountain resided in the background. It was a beautiful scene before bed.

Sunday – September 6th

I was the first one to wake up around sunrise. I didn’t get a good night sleep, but heard plenty of owls throughout the night. It was cool to hear them because it was dead silent all night long. I could hear myself breathing and my pulse in my ears when I laid on my side. Anyway I took a few morning shots of camp and the lake before people started getting up. Diana joined me while Andy and Karen came out around 8 AM.

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Sunday was a very kick back and relaxing day. We didn’t really do anything. Karen’s hip flexor was bothering her too so we just hung around camp all day. It was a perfect Sunday. Diana and I sat by the lake together just taking in the scenery. Andy and Karen did their devotions. We all did some stretching around mid day. We gathered wood for the fire later on that night. I hooked up the shower and took one in the mid afternoon. After the bag was warming all day, a nice warm shower was perfect. Diana followed after I finished as well as Andy.

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Unfortunate for me I found sap on one of the rocks while sitting with Diana by the lake. Andy had some alcohol swabs and said it worked for getting sap off of a tent. I became the guinea pig as Andy tried getting the sap off my pants. Yes I got sap on my while sitting down so it was quite entertaining for everyone else to watch. Diana took a couple of pictures to prove that it worked.

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Prior to dinner Karen and Diana wanted to bring one of the benches over from another campsite to our site. Andy and I went brought the bench carved piece over and started trying to balance the bench. We didn’t have much success so Karen took over. She was successful after a little while.

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The camp fire was a lot bigger that night as we had collected a lot of wood earlier in the day. We all stayed warm by the fire, told more stories, and enjoyed the last day of being around Maggie Lakes. We were going to hit the trail early and try to get out by early afternoon, so we didn’t stay up late at all.

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Monday – September 7th

We broke camp around 730 AM. The weather was colder than when we first started our trip. Nobody really complained when we started climbing out of Maggie Lakes. The sun wasn’t high enough yet to warm the uphill climb for us. Once we got back up to the pass, we enjoyed a nice long downhill trout to Mowery Meadow.

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We broke for lunch at the same spot we did a couple of days ago. We had 2 miles left to go and were making great time on the way out. We decided to pose a group photo before making the final 2 mile trek.

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Once back in the car, we made our way back down to Diana’s parents’ house. I unloaded my gear into my truck and turned to say goodbye to Diana and my new friends Andy and Karen. It was around 330 PM. A great weekend getaway for sure. The temperatures ranged in the low 60’s for the high and high 30’s at night. It couldn’t have been better weather for a nice weekend trip. We all had a great time.

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