Hike Difficulty: strenuous – it pushed me well past my limit
Trail Length: 8.8 mi RT (another source says 9.6…)
Elevation Gain: 2367 ft
My Rating (out of 5): 5.0 – Today when I woke up and checked the weather report for the area, I knew that it was going to be a wet day. This is the second time I’ve attempted the Devil’s Punchbowl and both times it has been like passing through hell. The first time, I missed the turn and ended up at Trout Camp — that sucked. This time, it was raining/snowing/sleeting on us 60 or 70% of the time.
It definitely took everything I have to get there, especially with the weather. Luckily, I think I was pretty prepared. Grace was probably a bit cold by the end of the hike, but she didn’t act like the wetness and the cold were affecting her at all.
We stopped by Buck Lake at around 1.5 miles in. That was when the rain turned to snow and the cold really just started to get into my bones. Around 3.2 miles in, the hike got serious when I arrived at the turnoff for the punchbowl. In a matter of 1.2 miles I climbed well over 1000 feet to reach the top of the ridge. The snow was blowing in my face and the flakes were getting bigger and bigger.
I made my way down the trail toward some sounds of running water and crossed the creek. This is when the trail disappeared and I found myself scrambling up granite rocks towards the lower lake and the punchbowl, guided only by cairns every now and then.
There were many times when I thought of turning back because it was so wet and cold, but I made it!! Check out the pics of my journey