I wasn’t planning on hiking yesterday until I got a last minute invite to do a late afternoon hike with a friend, Jared and his girlfriend, Lauren. They were thinking of going up to Sheep Lake and beyond at Chinook Pass near Mt. Rainier.
I hadn’t been back to Sheep Lake since fall of 2010 so I joined up. It isn’t a hard hike, not by any means. A whopping 2+ miles to the lake on a super graded trail. Being that we got to the trailhead at er…..4 pm-ish….we had to park on the highway. Yikes, I was “one” of “those people”. The ones who go to the farmers market, have brunch and then think about going hiking. The ones I always pass on the way down at 2-4 pm and wonder how they got started so late. Oops!
The hiking was actually quite nice as the trail was in shadow most of the way, which is nice as it faces towards Eastern Washington and can be blazingly hot.
The flowers were some of the best I have seen on this section. Everything was in bloom! The Lupine was divine:
I convinced them to head up to a pocket meadow along the trail. Most pass by, it is worth the couple steps to go up.
The lake was as charming as usual.
The outlet stream:
Looking back across the lake:
Lauren hadn’t been to Sourdough Gap above the lake. I have been up there many times so I wandered the lake, found a nook and cracked open some reading. Having 3 kids my reading time is pretty limited, nor is it ever quiet. It was mildly warm, breezy and few bugs. I was in the shade, hanging over a subalpine lake. With no kids It was like going to a spa for relaxation…..
I had a couple new items for my lunch/dinner. I came across Mariel’s Blisscuits recently:
They were interesting. Very soft, super moist gluten-free biscuits. At 240 calories for the pack they are very filling.
It is a very pretty trail mix. If you love raw cashews and goji berries and eat a lot of raw you will love it. It is also great added to hot breakfast cereals as well!
The little alcove I found was a nice spot to while away the evening. I met a number of people backpacking who were out for the evening and had nice chats with them.
The fish were jumping a bit until the wind picked up:
A pano from my mobile phone of my view 360*:
Heather was in bloom -
The sun setting in the basin:
They came back, we snapped a group photo and headed down:
Well, one more photo:
The basin was pretty dim for light but once out of the trees we had plenty lof light…..although we were not back to the car till maybe 8:20?
One last pano: