Hiking Jay Lake – May 8, 2019

For my first hike of the season, my buddy Denny and I decided to go to Wallace Falls State park to hike to Jay Lake for a quick overnighter on a beautiful Wednesday evening.

Jay Lake is a 12.2 mile round trip hike with 1600 feet of elevation gain. We left the apartment around 2 and got to the trailhead to start our hike just after 3.

At the trailhead, looking forward to the hike.

And we’re off!

Most of the hike was quite pretty. The trail was well maintained, and even though we were out fairly early in the season, the elevation was low enough that there was no snow. We were just surrounded by nature, and enjoying the good company.

Wordsworth shares some wisdom at the start of the hike.

A beautiful stroll through nature.

There was a bench at one point overlooking a stream. It was really pretty, but we didn’t need a rest, so we pressed on.

After passing Wallace Lake and hiking for another mile, we arrived at Jay Lake, setting up camp a bit after 5 (paying $12 at the trailhead for the campground reservation; typically I’ll likely free back country camp, but decided to splurge for this first hike).

Setting up camp.

A weird mushroom!

The view looking up out of my tent

A lot of this hike would be for the purposes of testing my new gear. After getting rid of all of our stuff when we FIRE’d in 2015 and went down to a backpack each, I needed to reacquire camping gear, and was eager to test my new purchases. You can see my gear list–with the exact gear I took, including weight and prices of all items–by visiting this link, or at the bottom of this post.

Denny sets up his bivy.

Throughout the day, we had many interesting discussions about business, life’s meaning and purpose, love, kids, and all those things that I imagine are on the minds of many people our age (early 30s). We grabbed some water from the lake (shockingly clear/free of sediment), filtered it, cooked some dinner, then–seeing as it’d be light until about 8:30pm–went for another walk, sans gear. Hiking begets more hiking.

After finally getting back to camp a bit after 9 with the aid of our headlamps, we brushed our teeth and settled into our tents. The night had begun to cool, so we added some layers and snuggled under our quilts, then continued the conversations for a few more hours (What can I say? It’s hard to stop a good conversation.) before finally drifting off.

The evening was beautiful, and–with no expected rain–I didn’t even zip down the side flaps of my tent.

The view looking up at the trees right before closing my eyes.

Lake water not yet treated. Surprisingly clear, right? We filtered it before drinking, of course.

The next morning some very loud geese and other birds woke us up, and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and packed up camp, not leaving until near 8am. A quick two hour hike out, and we were back at the car, and home by 11!

Denny having the flexibility of an entrepreneur (able to get away for a little bit–working Wednesday morning, going camping, working Thursday afternoon), and me, having the flexibility of a FIRE’d person, but with kids (able to get away a little bit), meant we were able to enjoy a quick mid-week hike. The trail was quite empty of people this time of year, and this time of week, and that made it all the more enjoyable.

The beautiful stroll back.

All in all, we did around 14 miles (~8 the first day with our extra evening walk, and ~6 the second day) and had a lovely time at Jay Lake. Already looking forward to the next one!

Here the gear I took, as mentioned above: Click to Expand

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