The lake isn't truly unknown. There's no trail to it, but it is on the map, without a name. There is a fire ring there, and locals undoubtedly visit more than I know. It's not in any guidebooks, and it shouldn't be. The delicate alpine vegetation around it could be so easily trampled, and the slow growing trees cut for firewood.
I went there with someone who had wanted to visit it for years. Some of us tagged along, drawn by his description of the sparking lake he had seen while high above it. The trail was steep, and some of the hikers were fast. It started raining before we even got to the trailhead. Still, the huckleberries were plenty, and the miles went by fast, until we saw the lake below us.
We carefully made our way down a boulder field into a magical land. A second unnamed lake gleamed around the corner and a hundred feet below the first one. It rained, the sun came out, and it rained again. We lingered, reluctant to go.
One of the hikers related her friend's recent experience on a popular trail in the national park close by. "She said they saw 500 people on the trail," she said. FIVE HUNDRED. It seems exaggerated, but possible, and even if they actually saw half that number, it is staggering.
Our little group was alone. I was grateful. Some places should remain relatively unknown, just discussed among friends. not broadcast on social media or written about in guidebooks. Sleep in peace, little lake. I'm so glad I saw you, and I'll keep your secret.