The 2011 hiking season for me has officially begun. Since I had some surgery earlier this year I picked what I thought would be a fairly easy first hike, Wallace Lake, at Wallace Falls State Park. The hike is listed as 4.2 miles in and total elevation guide of around 1,500 feet.
I arrived at about 8am and got my gear together. There was not another hiker around and I had the place to myself. It felt good to get the pack on and hit the trail.
As is my nature, I could feel the adrenaline propelling me ahead too fast and I had to work on my pacing, especially as I hit the first bit of incline and actually found myself wheezing – never had that happen before! I pressed on and soon enough got the rhythm I was looking for.
The hike itself starts along the Wallace river and eventually comes to a “Y”. Falls hikers go right, lake hikers go left. Oh, there is also an alternate route to the lake using logging roads but come on, who wants to do that? It takes about 2 extra miles going that route. I will say, if you are a mountain biker that is the way you’ll have to go, and if you’re biking you may even want to bring a raft along as the lake has very limited access. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I arrived at the lake around 9:30am after a pleasant hike. Second growth forest, no great views, but not a bad hike, the hike is overall pretty tame. This trail is made for beginners. Every 1/2 -1 mile there would be a little sign telling the hiker what to expect – “easy grade”, “moderate grade”. I really don’t need and didn’t care for these prompts but oh well. That tells you this is a very popular day hike area and the State Park service is playing to the crowd.
The lake itself is quite pretty, surrounded by wooded shores with precious little access to the lake to fish it. An angler would have to walk out on downed logs and balance as he fishes. Not my cup of tea. The far end of the lake has a delightful area called “Pebble Beach” and this is by far the best fishing location with the shore dropping off to deeper water. I saw fish dimpling and smolt swimming in the shallows, but unfortunately for me my rod had a stress fracture and broke so I didn’t get to catch any fish this day.
The lake was first stocked in the 1920s and holds rainbow and eastern brook trout It is 100 feet deep and has a few outlet/inlets so I’m guessing there is a healthy population of fish to catch despite it being in a popular location. It just doesn’t have much access to fish it. This leads me back to my earlier observation about bikes and rafts. If a person hiked in a float tube or raft I think they could really target a lot of fish that have never seen a fly or lure before. I’m guessing it could be pretty good fishing! So for the strong and brave among you I’ll plant that idea for a future adventure.
Today, July 5th, hiking stats: 9.36 miles hiked, maximum elevation 2,131 feet, elevation gained 1,498 feet.
View from mid lake looking back.