Lizard Head Loop: Cirque of the Towers to Valentine Lake

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Be sure to check out Part One first!

Day 3: Day hike to Texas Pass and around Lonesome Lake, 5.72 miles

We awoke our third day to brilliant blue skies. Seriously, we could not have paid for better weather. We made pancakes and bacon and drank our coffee and Earl Grey in the sun. We wanted to stay another night at our site so we cleaned it up for the day and set out for Texas Pass, above the Cirque. The Winds are full of “social trails” which are not maintained as real trails, but by the feet of all the people who use them. It was all social trails up to Texas, but there were plenty of cairns to follow on the way up (cairn = ‘heap of stones’) so we didn’t get too lost.

It was another super windy day. The Winds are notoriously bad for bugs, but we didn’t have any trouble, probably thanks to the cold nights and that incessant wind. What a weird word, wind; it’s so puny for something so powerful. Found a few climbers’? sites? on the other side of the lake, no bear bags hung and dishes strewn about. Amateurs. I noted in my journal “Clouds in the pm, but perfectly clear evening. This wind is nuts.”


Day 4: Lonesome Lake Outlet to Valentine Lake, 11.5 miles

Woke up to a cold morning with ice on the tent. I tried classing up some oatmeal for breakfast with peanut butter, flax and chia seeds, and walnuts but it was still terrible. Nice flat walk to the base of Lizard Head Peak, then up up and away.

This was our longest day of the hike at 11.5 miles, and about 5 of them were across the plateau. You never want to be up high in the middle of the day because that’s when storms roll in so we hightailed it across after a quick lunch at the summit. The temps dropped even more with the clouds and I hiked with every outer layer I had with me. Our goal for the night was Valentine Lake.

It was a pretty solid goal, I guess.

We camped on a little bluff right above the water and spent the evening watching the clouds roll across the mountains. Greg built us another rager and it even snowed on us for awhile. Well, graupeled anyway. Greg is obsessed with the word graupel (German for a light, hail-like snow) and said it no less than 2,300 times as we were sitting around the fire. “Yeah, this isn’t snow or rain, it’s graupel.” “You can tell it’s graupel because it’s like little tiny hail balls, only they’re soft like snow. But it’s not snow or hail, it’s graupel.” As our dear friend Josie likes to say, “Quirks. We all got ’em.”


A great night after a tough day. Will Lady Campfire require a stress test and an echo upon her return to civilization? Stay tuned!

See our other Lizard Head posts:

Big Sandy to Cirque of the Towers

Valentine Lake to Big Sandy Trailhead


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