I have done Annette Lake at least
a dozen times in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. I have tried it twice in
the Winter I had not succeeded in reaching it though. On my first Winter
try while crossing an open snow slope I fell through and my feet did not
reach the bottom. Hanging by your shoulders is not recommended. Today the
conditions were very good and I was sure of success. This was a Mountaineer
trip but it was unusually small with only 7 members. On the drive up the
wind was howling. I was afraid it might be a very cold day. The entrance
road to the parking lot was a little snowy but easily passable. The lot itself
was snow covered and very slick. With all wheel drive it was no problem.
The bridge over Humpback Creek is torn up pending repair so a detour takes
you along the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail then a temporary trail links up
with the old trail just after the creek. I was surprised to see that there
were half a dozen groups getting started early on a January Saturday. In
years past I would not have seen anyone at this trailhead at this time of
The lower section of the trail is snow covered. It
has been packed down by many hikers and it a little slick. We carried snowshoes
all the way up and all the way down. In some places their crampons would
have been useful, but not enough to warrant taking the time to put them on.
Poles were very helpful in keeping on my feet (and not my rear). We stopped
briefly at the railroad grade. There was enough snow that I would have put
on snowshoes if I were to hike the grade. Across the grade we hiked and continued
on. The middle 2 miles of this trip contain the vast majority of the elevation
gain. The last half mile is even mostly a gentle downhill. We were on the
trail by 8:35 and by 9:30 we were well up the trail. It was cold in the
parking lot and a little windy. As we climbed up the valley the wind stopped.
Going uphill it was easy to warm up. The snow was a little crusty but it
was not freeze/thaw ice such as on the Mt. Si trail. The tracks across the
open slopes were very safe and easy to cross. The amount of snow was extremely
low for this time of year. Small bushes were poking through the snow on
the open slopes where they should have been buried. By 10:40 we were at the
lake and all alone. The other groups must have been going up Silver Peak.
The sky was clear but the sun was too low to reach over the ridges surrounding
the lake. My thermometer read 22 degrees. We had "brunch", it was too early
to call it lunch. I would have liked to stay longer but it was just too cold
to sit still. From the lake shore there was a beautiful view of Silver Peak
with it's summit in the sunshine.
On the way down we began to meet other hikers. In this low snow year even
some hikers with minimal equipment were hiking on up. The trip down was
a little slippery but much faster. By 12:30 we were back at the car. Annette
Lake is a very nice Summer hike. It is not a lonesome one. By leaving early
it was a great Winter trip. The views of Silver, Abiel, and Humpback were
terrific with a coating of snow. This was a nice short Winter hike.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Photo Page 2