thePowell Blog

Pine Creek Lake

We left Friday night at 5:40, which was later than we wanted. This tends to always happen in the Powell household no matter how much we try. We arrived up at the trailhead around 6:30, put on the bug spray, adjusted our packs, and then headed up the trail. We were excited as we have been wanting to go backpacking since we got our packs at the REI garage sale last September. It did not take us long to reach the Pine Creek Falls as it was an easy one miler with only 350 feet of elevation gain. We took a moment to capture a few pictures of the falls and then continued on our way as day light was burning. We meet a gentleman on the way up and he asked us if it was our first time on this trail. Of course it was and he told us it was quite the climb. Brent and I knew that it was, but he laughed as he walked away saying, “The hill’s a climber!” We continued to climb as reach the creek crossing. We meandered our way through the logs and branches and on top the rocks that were laying across the creek. We looked up the the canyon to try to figure out how much farther we had to go only later to find out that we miss-judged the distance. We also looked down to see how far we had come. It was absolutely amazing to see the valley below with the Yellowstone River meandering through it. We could see for miles and miles. We could see mountain ranges and more ranges behind those. I would have to say it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We continued up the trail and took a little longer break a little ways up. As we got on our way we kept on climbing and climbing and climbing. We had no clue how far we had come. We could only guess. Time kept creeping along and the sun kept going down. Around 9:00 we thought we were there only to come up to the point and the trail turned to keep on climbing. We thought about stopping at that point but decided it looked like we had only about a 20 minute climb left. We made it up to Jewel Lake, only a few steps down from Pine Creek Lake, there with enough daylight left to navigate our way. We pulled out the head lamp so we could cross a little creek on a log and then we found a spot to camp for the night. We built a fire, set up camp, had a few s’mores, and stared at the stars. It had been so long since I had seen so many stars.

We had the most uncomfortable nights rest. The sun was coming up and so did Brent and I with it around 6:30 a.m. I built a fire off of the coals that were left to put a pot of water on for our coffee. We sat around the campsite for about and hour and a half before we went on a short five minute jaunt up the next little hill to Pine Creek Lake. It is a very decent sized lake and absolutely gorgeous with the surrounding cliffs. We decided that Jewel Lake was a much better spot to camp. We went back to the campsite packed up a little bit, read God’s word surrounded by his obvious glory in nature, and then headed back down the mountain. We made pretty good time and ran into several hikers, a mountain biker, and my sister who was at the falls. We hung out the falls with her for about an hour as we were starting to get antsy. We were so close with the easiest part of the trail left. We made it down and then headed for the Pop Stand & Grill in Livingston for some lunch and a milkshake. Always a great reward after a grueling hike.