Chester Lake / Three Lakes Valley
A nice fall hike up to Chester Lake, and beyond to Three Lakes Valley and the elephant rocks.


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The trail to Chester Lake is short and boring. A multiuse ski/snowshoe/hiking trail, it is wide and viewless, but gets you up quickly.
After the requisite elevation gain, the trail winds through some subalpine meadows before reaching Chester Lake - and its larches.

First view of the Chester Lake cirque.

Group coming along the trail - Mount in the background.

Chester Lake.

Chester Lake, and the head of the valley.

Late season larch at Chester Lake.

Jenn goes for a snow roll.

Jenn seems strangely not covered in snow.

After a little stop at Chester Lake, we turned off the main trail, and continued up into Three Lake Valley, north of Gusty Peak.
We passed the elephant rocks on our way, but saved them for the way back.
I'm not sure which three are exactly the Three Lakes of the name, but we saw two sizable tarns, and a couple of puddles.

Elephant Rocks!

Elephant Rocks and Gusty Peak.

Commonwealth Peak across the valley.

Marshall and Marta come up the trail to the first tarn.

Icy first tarn.

Jenn tests a piece of ice against her face.

Beyond the first decent-sized tarn, the trail climbs a serious headwall, and the last remnants of treeline to reach the ledge containing the middle puddle-tarn.

Gorana and Rachel on the headwall above the first tarn.

Marta looking back down the valley.

Jenn, Marshall, and Marta climb up above the first tarn.

Tarn and mountains across the spray valley.

Second 'tarn'.

We stopped for lunch at the second 'tarn', in the barren alpineland before continuing over a final pass to the highest tarn.

Group at lunch.

Gorana checks out the puddletarn.

Piglet goes for a skate.

Piglet and his ice rink.

Marta's puppy Ananda.

Marta and Marshall dine in style.

The group crosses a minor icefield.

across the valley.

The third tarn was worthy of being a tarn, but entirely frozen. This one might be the nicest when liquid, up in the barren rock.
Most of the group stayed up near the pass while Rachel, Axel, and Marshall checked out the lakeshore.

Coming over the shoulder above the third tarn.

Ice breakup at the edge of the tarn.

Marshall, Ananda, Rachel, and Axel at the third tarn.

Austere setting at the end of the valley.

Axel plays around a little too long and soaks a foot.

Group returning down the valley.

View across the valley from the second tarn.

Rest break!

Descending to the first tarn - significantly melted already.

Tarn and Mount Chester.

On our way back down the valley, we stopped at the elephant rocks for a while to play around.
This is a random collection of some very large boulders that have many opportunities for minisummits. :)
When the less vertically-inclined managed to drag Rachel and Marshall off the rocks, we headed back down for the end of a great day out.

Marshall and Rachel on top of a rock.

Axel summits the same rock.

Julian near the top of the same rock.

Marshall and Marta climb another rock.

Marta has found a cool plateau of a rock.

Some of the elephant rocks.

Axel and Rachel on the plateau.

Gorana exploring.

Jenn under the rocks.

Chester Lake.

Last view of the lake and the larch.

Coming back down the main trail.

Unidentified fossil.
>
Unidentified trace fossil.

Sunset reflected in Goat Pond on the way home.

Photos taken by Jenn and Rachel.

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