Revisiting Babyfoot Lake

It’s been a little while since I went to Babyfoot Lake in the Kalmiopsis for my first backpacking trip. Since there were some pretty serious fires rolling through the area this summer, I was curious and nervous to see what I might find. The area had already suffered when the Biscuit Fire hit in 2002 and the plants had been making some strides toward rejuvenation and recovery, so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be a happy hike or a bittersweet one.

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From the Babyfoot Lake trailhead

I looked at the weather forecast before I left civilization and figured that I had about 6 or 7 hours until the weather got ugly. However, pretty much right from the start, there were ominous grey clouds building in the sky. I headed down to Babyfoot Lake first, where it didn’t seem like the fire had reached this summer.

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From the north shore of Babyfoot Lake looking up at the rim I was about to climb

After spending some time near the lake (and tolerating Grace rolling in poop…twice), I doubled back and started my ascent up the Kalmiopsis Rim Trail. My goal was to make it to the top of the ridge and over to Canyon Peak. I calculated that it would be about 4 miles out and 4 back, but I wasn’t sure what I would actually be able to pull off.

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Above Babyfoot Lake looking down

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Another from above Babyfoot

The higher I climbed, the more the wind roared above me, sounding like a jet plane. I knew that the bad weather was hitting a bit sooner than the forecast showed, but apart from little sprinkles that were on and off, it was tolerable. I wanted to at least get to a prominent overlook from high up.

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The first major signs of a recent fire. This was still on the rim right above Babyfoot

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View to the southwest

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Canyon Peak looks closer than two miles away

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More burn zone from Chetco Bar fire

The weather started to get kinda crazy and sleeted on me for a few minutes. I had trouble finding the trail through the burn zone (though I think I just had to keep going downhill to a road) and I didn’t want to die on the mountain, so I turned around. The sleet didn’t last long, but it was probably for the best that I had turned back when I did. When I got back to my car, I found a faint, but pretty rainbow had formed.

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If you’re interested in the stats and map from this hike, here they are:

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5.64 miles total, 1217 ft elevation gain, 2 hours 39 mins — still miles away from my goal 😦

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