August 5th, 2007:
We got an early start, to avoid the bugs, the heat and the crowds. Our choice was to do Snow Lake, up at Snoqualmie Pass. Snow Lake is one of the heaviest visited trails in Washington State, but for good reason. It is a shorter hike (less than 3 miles one way to the first areas by the lake), the elevation gain goes quickly, and it is always kept in top shape.
Trailhead had not been there before, so I figured she might like it. It would give her an introduction to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area. We were on the trail by 8 am. The sun was barely starting to come up, so the normally baked trail was nice to walk along. The bugs had not yet woken up either…..
Near the high point, as you cross a saddle and can see Snow Lake far below we came across a nice patch of Bear Grass:
As we went over the saddle, it got nice and cold. In the far distance you could see a mix of clouds and fog blowing in from the mountains far across the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Valley.
We rounded the lake, and hiked for the trail junction 3 miles in, where one can head downhill far below to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and beyond. Many years ago, the trail to Snow Lake and then down that trail (Rock Creek Trail) were part of the Cascade Crest Trail, for those with pack animals. That of course fell to the side once the modern PCT was built. I stood there at that junction…it has been in my mind for a while to go and do the old PCT. We will see what happens on that.
Looking back down the lake as we headed towards Rock Creek:
We kept going past the junction, till we came above the lakes outlet. The bugs were getting very, very bad at this point. As badly as I wanted to keep going and head for the next lake, Gem Lake….I knew we had to call it a day.
Ford protesting, and asking “can we turn around?”:
Behind him you can see the mountain tops across the Middle Fork Valley.
We headed back at this point. We attempted to have lunch above the lake, near the middle. But it was not to be. The mosquitoes were swarming. In the eyes, nose and mouth. I just couldn’t take it. We moved fast, heading up the basin as fast as we could, back to the saddle. We had a break for a few minutes at the saddle. The bugs were not as bad up there. By then, the sun was out and it was getting hot, so we had black flies on the way down. But oh well! The bugs are only bad for a couple weeks every year. I can handle that. It was nice to be out, and we had good scenery.