Heather Lake – another 11 miler

Because my knee is still a bit toasty from our Elephant Mountain hike, and still talking smack every time I go up or down the stairs, I encouraged my kids to choose a hike with the distance they wanted to go, but with a bit less up and down action.

Emerald/Heather Lake area is what they chose. I LOVE this trail. It is a beautiful winding trail for the most part, gentle ups and downs, gradual assents,  and only one section that is steep, 10 switch backs with a 400 foot elevation gain. Totally doable. 5 1/2 miles in and 5 1/2 miles out.


Gorgeous day, crazy wildflower meadows, lunch, and a great high country lake swim. That felt so damn good I can’t even describe it completely. Yes I can, I was so stoked the moment I hit that water! Super clear water, super cold, and just what we all needed. Renn maybe not as much 😉

this is me ... let it be known, high country lakes are my favorite


The only thing we weren’t prepared for were the flesh eating, biting, sucking flies. Horse flies, deer flies, you name it, they were out for blood. It was intense in a few areas, and as we were hiking up and sweating, we were also slapping ourselves and killing a bunch, but just as many were biting us. For a short while I left the dead ones on me hoping it would send a clear message to the others, stay back or die! It didn’t, they took it as an invitation to party. I started to feel like Marlon Brando in The Apocalypse, “the horror … the horror”.

But the real treasure, we saw two wildflowers that I haven’t seen for some time, Lewis’ Monkey Flower, and Elephants Head. That was special.


I am not hobbling, so I am taking that as a good sign. The kids loved it and want to go back. Me too, and maybe with Story or $eeker next time. Nancy

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Teresa tanner says:


    My knee was talking to me and my acupuncturist started working in my IT band, loosing it up a bit and the tension on my knee was relieved returning the natural alignment and am now much less painful. Most days not at all.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      I wish it were as alignment issue, it is actually an issue of decades of sports abuse and having way too much fun! I have an appointment on the 5th to see what decades of ‘too much fun’ really means!

      1. mtwaggin says:

        I have to second Teresa here, almost all of my knee issues (other than being too fat which isn’t your problem) for me have been because my IT bands get too tight and pull everything. Have an EVIL roller that I now use (some of the worst burning pain ever) and it helps a TON!

  2. mtwaggin says:

    What a wonderful place to hike! Your photos are AMAZING!!!!! We had horrid deer and horse flies at Freezeout last weekend too….still dealing with the welts.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Sherry I have counted 49 bites and those are the ones I can feel and touch. IT was crazy fly day yesterday! The photos are amazing because i have a good camera 😉

  3. It is a very beautyful landscape and I am sure wonderful to experience.

  4. dayphoto says:

    Horrible biting fly’s here and mosquitoes…I don’t’ know which is worse. Your photos are outstanding. You also showed me a flower I have never gotten to see before.


    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Linda, it has been 8 years since I have seen a Lewis’ Monkey Flower. Best of luck with the biting flies. I am still itchy scratchy 😉

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