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Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

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Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:26 pm

This is the last of three treks I made this summer. A real change of pace from CA. It’s also the farthest north I have been.
Alpine Lakes is located north of I-90 and less than an hour out of Seattle. It has deep valleys separated by relatively high ridges. This is probably the best circular trek you can make in the wilderness.
We started out at the Snoqualmie Pass TH on Saturday, Sept 8. Snoqualmie Pass is where the PCT crosses I-90. We camped at the TH and greeted a number of day hikers that walked by us in breakfast mode.
The first big item along the trail was the Kendal Catwalk. This was a portion of the trail that had to be blasted out of a cliff and supposed to be rather scary to cross. As it turned out, it looked like the trail had been widened subsequently, taking the thrill out of it.
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Although it was September, things still looked spring like
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We camped at Ridge Lake, which was about 6.8 miles in.
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I spent the afternoon at Gravel Lake being tormented by Rainbows that refused to bite what I had in my tackle box. Still, a nice lake.
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We were glad we grabbed a camp early as there are virtually no places to camp on the next 8 miles due to the steep walls of the canyon and tons of people were coming in to Ridge Lake for the weekend. A major storm moved in that evening and we were subjected to a dramatic thunder and lightning display, as well as quite a bit of rain.
Unfortunately, the storm limited the next day’s photo opportunities but here are a few on the way to Spectacle Lake, our next stop, some 11.7 miles down the trail.
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Spectacle Lake in the distance:
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Some big pointy things on the horizon:
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Nearby, the Three Queens
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Nasty weather at Spectacle Lake by the time we go there,
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but I managed to catch a nice brookie:
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Monday, September 10. We dropped down to Pete Lake and then climbed back up and over Waptus Pass and dropped to Waptus Lake, 11.5 miles.
There is lots of granite in the area, but it’s all covered in moss:
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Waptus Lake looked like this in the evening:
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And like this early the next morning:
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But by the time we packed up camp and began to move around the lake, it looked like this:
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Now that’s what I came for! We set up a camp around the lake, and then took an afternoon hike up to Spade Lake. The trail had not been maintained, and was faint a points, but worth the trouble to see Spade Lake:
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Next morning (September 12), after enjoying the sunrise:
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We headed up the lake, joined the PCT for a while, enjoying a view of Bear’s Breast Mountain (yes, that’s the name).
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And then climbed up to Ivanhoe Lake:
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Above the Ivanhoe Lake was Dutch Miller Gap, and we passed into the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie
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After 7.8 miles, we came to area named Pedro Camp, we put up and tents and began to forage:
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Lots of little Cutthroats in the creek.
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September 13, we continued down the Snoqualmie, enjoying the view:
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We hiked about 11 miles down to Goldmyer Hotsprings, a private inholding. For $15 each, we got to use the hotsprings and camp. It was great not to have to bathe in snowmelt. The money went to pay for the caretaker and keep the place nice. It was a great place. You can also reach it by hiking or biking up a closed road. We even saw some people with hand carts.
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September14, we continued a couple miles down the river on a good trail, and then began a 2500-foot, 4-mile climb out of the canyon to Snow Lake. This trail had not been maintained for some time, and getting across the brush-choked talus taught me dislike vine maple. Here are some of the falls coming out of Snow Lake:
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Here’s looking back up the Snoqualmie Canyon:
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After scratching the heck out of our legs, we finally got to Snow Lake.
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This fellow showed up for dinner. He wanted the grouse in the berry brush, but left empty handed.
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Next morning the sun brushed the nearby peaks:
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We hiked down the trail, to the TH at Alpental Ski area, passing this on the way, Image
and then roadhiked to the Snoqualmie Pass TH.
71 miles in 7 days. Less than an hour out of Seattle. Nice change of pace from the Golden State. Try it.



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Re: Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:38 pm

What a great TR and photos. I live in Seattle and have been to all those places, but you did it under ideal conditions (few bugs, pretty good weather). As you note it has a different look and feel of travel than the Sierra but also has distinct charms of its own.
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Re: Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby tim » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:25 pm

Looks great. I remember doing a day hike to Snow Lake about 15 years ago when I was visiting Seattle for work. It certainly lived up to its name for me, even though I was there in mid-late July. Nice to see what it looks like with a little less snow.

Our summer vacation in the Pacific Northwest (Olympic & Rainier National Parks) this year has definitely made me want to go back to that part of the world for a backpacking trip.
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Re: Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby maverick » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:59 pm

Have read about the ALW and seen many beautiful photographs of this place, it is great
to see it confirmed by a members TR. Thank you for posting this great TR and wonderful
pictures.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby sparky » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:15 pm

wow I have wanted to hike there for a long time. thanks for sharing!
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: Alpine Lakes, Washington Trek TR

Postby KathyW » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:24 pm

Just beautiful!
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