Hello Helen Lake

Trip Start Jun 11, 2008
Trip End Jun 22, 2008

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Where I stayed
In a dern tent

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, June 13, 2008

Helen Lake is a 2-3 hour hike from Horse Camp. Our goal was to camp at Helen tonight and summit tomorrow. After a 10-hour sleep and a nice big breakfast, we headed to Helen around noon.

From Horse Camp, Helen Lake looks a stone-throw away. You see one rocky hill and one semi-snowy hill then a nice flat plateau - presumably Helen Lake. During the hike, we were surprised to find hill after hill after hill after hill. It was torture hiking up and finding another hill when you've just crested one.

Halfway up to Helen Lake, we heard a high-pitched snap, then a deep rumble.

One of the monolithic pinnacles that hugs the Heart snapped in half and sent a ton of rock and debris down the mountain. Apparently this is a common occurrence on the AG. Everyone on the trail stopped and watched in amazement. Everyone higher on the mountain was screaming "ROCK" trying to alert other hikers.

Other than the rock slide that pretty much made me piss my pants, the hike itself isn't that bad. But don't get deceived by your view from below. We reached Helen Lake around 4 p.m. - a little more than the three hours we planned.

Helen Lake was busy. About 20 tents lined the ridge. We settled into the last of about 10 sites. We had a great view of Shasta City and some of the surrounding mountains, but we got very little wind protection.

A fellow mountaineer brought up some 2005 merlot and offered me some. I gladly accepted. I wish I knew which vineyard it came from. The wine slipped down my throat smoothly. Then I realized that the wine was going to dehydrate me, so I had to toss the rest. Wine helped me to bed at 8:30 p.m.

Alpine start the next morning at 4:30 a.m.
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