Lake 22

I had to be home by mid afternoon so I chose a close in destination and a short easy hike. It would also be the warmest day of the year so far. I left early cruising along the Mountain Loop Highway to the trailhead. I was on the trail by 8:30 am. There were already more than half a dozen cars in the lot. It was a little cold for a short sleeve shirt so early but shorts were fine. The day warmed up rapidly. I expected snow at the lake but did not know where it would begin. I did not bring snowshoes  but did pack Yaktrax. I did not use them. There was more skunk cabbage down low than I ever recall seeing. At the bridge there was a lot of water in Twenty Two Creek.

The big trees are one one of the best features of this trail. The area was set aside in 1947 and holds some of the easiest to find old grown near Seattle. There are no logs down across the trail making for fast and easy travel. At the last switchback before the trail enters the open rock field, I took the short way trail over to Twin Falls. These side by side beauties were gushing plenty of water. The early morning light was especially good. I took a medium long break enjoying the falls and playing with exposures for photos.

Back on trail I quickly entered the rock field. It was only 9:20 am but it was already heating up. No longer any need for long sleeves. From the last switchbacks I had nice views to snowy peaks beyond the ridge to the north. Then it was back into forest for the last bit to the lake. Patchy snow immediately giving way to patches of dirt then all snow. There are a few creeks to cross. I had heavier boots, put on gaiters and kept dry feet all day. Folks with lighter boots or sneakers had wet feet immediately. The open forest with broken trees shows the spot of a deadly avalanche several years ago. The low angle terrain close by belies the steep slopes behind that were previously hidden by trees. Upon nearing the creek and turning into the lake basin the snow went from 6 inches to 3 feet deep and more. There is one problem spot where a creek is crossed.

The drop down is at least 7 feet. Tracks drop downhill to the left and cross on a snow bridge. It is holding now but is getting thin. There will be quite a drop to the creek when it goes. With the warm weather we are having the snow will melt enough before too long to be able to climb down and back up. Just be a little careful with that snow bridge in the short term. The last bit went quickly and I was soon at Lake 22. Bright white snow, blue sky, and that near vertical back wall made for a beautiful sight. To my surprise, There was nobody at the lake outlet. I took a look at the bridge over the outlet. It is a good seven feet from the snow down to the bridge deck. As was demonstrated to me just before I left, some folks are jumping down to the hand rail and then to the bridge deck. Not for me.

The lake is still snow covered except for near the outlet. While I saw footprints out on the lake it is getting thin enough on the edges that it is way to risky for me. I brought a very wide angle lens and for the first time I was able to get the lake and back wall into a photo. I had hoped to go part way around the left side of the lake with the sun behind me. Instead, I started around the right side of the lake. There were a few footprints but not many. I think I was on or near the summer trail much of the way. The snow was pretty well consolidated though soft in some spots when out in the sunshine. It was not a big deal to sink in knee deep in a few spots. I went bout 80% of the way around the right. side. I did see two folks across from me on the left side. There were footprints near the shore at the back end of the lake.

I saw several big avalanches coming down the back wall. One was huge and loud. It did not appear that the snow had made it to near the lake itself. Still, I would not press my luck by passing under those big avalanches. I had lunch in the sunshine admiring the views. After a nice long break I headed back. At the outlet there were now lots of people. I arrived at the lake at 10:00 am and left just after 11:00 am. There must have been twenty folks at the lake.

Starting down I immediately passed groups coming up. One was more than a dozen. Lots of others were 5-8 people. I did not could but I would guess I passed about 90 folks coming up in the 75 minutes I was on the trail coming down. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I'm sure some were not expecting the five feet of snow still at the lake. I took a short break at Twin Falls but the light was not nearly as good as it had been in the morning. Even with stepping off the trail dozens of times to allow folks to pass I was down quickly. By 12:30 I was ready to drive home. The lot was packed as I knew it would be.

This turned out to be an excellent morning trip. With an early start I saw few folks on the way up. The morning light was outstanding at the falls and the lake. By gong part way around the lake I had close up views of the avalanches and again avoided the crowds. For the day I logged about 6 miles with 1400' of gain. A fine way to spent a spring time morning at a snow covered lake.

Gravel & Green
Skunk Cabbage
Falls From Bridge
Big Old Growth
Another Big Tree
Twin Falls
Without Bottom
Vertical Shot
Beautiful Falls
Cascading Creek
Last Falls Shot
On Snow Now
Solid Snow
Lake Is Just Ahead
Partly Melted
Snow Above Bridge
Lake 22
Leaving Outlet
Spires On Ridge
End Of Lake
Close Up Look
View Back To Outlet
Weakening Snow Bridge
Near End Of Snow
Nature Area Sign
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013