Recall that the TNAB season runs only during daylight savings time. Except about one trip a month during the dark months, usually around a full moon. Those trips are called Lunatics (or Lunatiques if you are feeling all Frenchy) for obvious reasons. This month's destination, courtesy of lousy snow and nasty avalanche conditions, was Olallie Lake. Yeah, that Olallie Lake. In order to stick to easy-to-drive roads we started at the Granite Mountain trailhead, but skipped the turn that heads up to Granite Mountain in favor of the trail to Pratt Lake.
Last year we had cold that was trying to kill us. 4.5F was the official reading, though there's been some thought that Scott's thermometer (the official weather station of TNAB, apparently) might not go any lower.
This year it was just drippy wet. Although there was some wet snow falling at the trailhead the trail was largely just mud or ice. Microspikes were the aid of choice even though there was plenty of opportunity to snag them on rocks or sticks. There's not a lot to see on this trail in the dark. Not a lot during the day, actually. It winds around, crosses creeks, and gains very, very slowly. Chitter chatter made the time pass and in no time (no, not really, it dragged) we were roughly next to the lake. Just as we dropped off the trail we saw the light of Eric (not to be confused with other "Lights of..."). He'd started 20 minutes after us and in spite of constantly referring to himself as slow had made up that time.
The lake was only partially frozen so we stuck close to shore. Cookies from Canada, spirits from the Yukon, and tea from the North Pole nourished us before we finally decided standing in the freezing rain sucked and it was time to head home.
No surprise, the walk out wasn't anything to write about. But the conversation at the Pour House after... well... that's something that shouldn't be written about.
Total distance was eight miles and gain was about 1,900 feet.