Annette Lake

Sunday morning and it was raining everywhere. I just wanted a quick hike and home by early afternoon. Raining everywhere...except up by Snoqualmie Pass. Well, maybe a little longer drive would be okay. I was out the door by 7:20 am. It was raining. It kept raining all the way to North Bend. It kept raining. With 10 miles to go the rain stopped. Doppler radar to the rescue. There was a little fresh snow but not not much. No snowshoes needed yet. I hiked to Annette Lake in late August after work. It was a very warm evening. This time it was about 40 degrees at the start. Much to my surprise, I was the first car in the lot. By 8:20 am I was on the trail. Recent rains had raised the flow of Humpback Creek. Quite a sight from the bridge over the creek.

I quickly reached the Iron Horse grade and headed higher. A recent report mentioned one big tree down across the trail but not where it was. It also mentioned snow but now where it started. I brought microspikes and had on gaiters from the start. Annette Lake is a popular trail. It is rare to hike up without seeing anyone going up or down. This day I had solitude. All the creeks were running but I had no trouble keeping dry feet. At the Iron Horse I had to stop and switch from a heavier wool shirt to a very light shirt. It was November cold but surprisingly warm while heading up. So much for sub 40 degrees. I nearly reached the high point before there was any snow on the trail. Just after that I came to the tree across the trail. No way to go around it. Either crawl under or hoist myself over it. Neither one looked good. I made it over.

Now the route slowly lost elevation as it crossed a number of talus fields. The snow in the open talus was not deep but it was packed down and slick. Poles helped keep my upright. It was slick but not solid ice. After the last talus crossing I just had the short quarter mile or so up to the lake. This section was really muddy. With my higher topped winter boots it was no problem. with lightweight boots I would have soaked my feet. The last quarter mile their was light rain falling. It was nearly dead calm. At the lake the rain stopped and the wind was blowing.

My thermometer read 36 degrees and the 10 mph wind was very cold. Time to bundle up. Silver Peak was completely lost in the clouds but the view of the lake basin was very good. Just a few clouds near the top of the ridge surrounding the lake. I walked through the campsites for a view from that end of the lake. There were puddles everywhere. Not a lot of dry ground to camp on. I only spent about 20 minutes at the lake. By then I was ready to get moving again. My jacket stayed on with the hood zipped up to my chin and gloves on.

I dropped down to the first talus field then hiked up to the high point. Just before the down tree I met two women hiking in. The first folks I had seen all day. In short order half a dozen more small groups went by. Once past the slick talus fields my pace picked up significantly. I met one big group of eight or nine and more small groups. One guy had on shorts and a short sleeve shirt. I guess 36 degrees is enough for shorts. Up to the lake and back is only about seven miles and I wanted to get in a little more mileage so at the Iron Horse trail I took a right turn and headed up the grade. One mile went by fast and I made it up to where I had an open view of Granite Mountain.  Most of it was out of the clouds. After a short break I headed back to the Annette Lake trail. I went down the last mile to the parking lot arriving at 12:40 pm. Nine miles and 1700' of gain and back well before 1:00 pm.

I made it a few miles down the highway and the rain began. It kept up most of the way home. This was one of those rare days when I went up into the mountains to get out of the rain. The parking lot was nearly full when I came down. On another busy day on the Annette Lake trail I made it up and part way down without seeing anyone. It was well worth the early start. My two trips to Annette Lake this year were like two completely different experiences. Sitting in the shade to avoid the late afternoon heat in July and bundled up to avoid the frigid wind and cold in November. Different but both were outstanding hikes. Soon snowshoes will be required to get to mountain lakes. This day I had snow highlighting the cliffs around the lake but mostly dirt trail for the hike. Another fun day in the mountains

First Car In The Lot
Bridge Over Creek
Humpback Creek
Power Line Corridor
Granite Mountain
On The RR Grade
Snow On Trail
Small Waterfall
Humpback Mountain
Talus Field
Tree Across Trail
More Snow
Arriving At Lake
Annette Lake
No Campfires Today
Heading Back
Short Sleeves?
Bandera Mountain
Below The Snow
Cloudy Granite Mountain
Wetzel Creek
Panorama Shot Of Annette Lake
Iron Horse Trail
Lot Is Now Fuller
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2016