Annette Lake – November 2014

Jean

This was my second “winter hike” of the season. It was a great moderate hike with Jared, Eve, and Jonathan. A little snow here and there. Great to get out and stretch my legs.

IMG_3212
This way to the lak

Wednesday, November 26, 2014. Hike: Annette Lake, 7.5 miles. Elevation gain: 1400 feet. High point: 3600 feet.

Raging river
Raging river

We woke at a reasonable time and rallied the troops. In the car around 9. On the trail around 10:30.  We drove away from the clouds that hung in the city into a mostly overcast Snoqualmie area. We parked near the only two other cars in the lot and spent the first 5 minutes in gently spattering rain. Just enough to feel justified in bringing my hiking umbrella. We hiked and chatted and took many pictures. The rivers were raging from heavy rains over the past couple of days. Small streams overtook the trail in places. Yet surprisingly the rocks were easy to hop across and presented no slipping hazards.

IMG_3204
Jonathan, Jared, Eve

As we climbed higher, the mud and water gave way to small amounts of ice and snow. The dusting of snow grew thicker as we approached the lake, at most an inch in a few spots. Temps were chilly but not cold. I was comfortable in my thin wool tee and super light houdini jacket while moving. Over streams, up a few switchbacks, across talus slopes. When we reached the lake, the air chilled. The small waterfall at the far end of the lake brought cool air with it and I donned my puffy. The lake was pretty. Covered with a thin layer of ice and appearing very green. It looked less gray than I remembered from my hike not long ago with Jared, Sam, and Megan.

IMG_3206
Across the talus slope
Onward
Onward

 

We snacked at the lake on trail mix and hummus (thanks Jonathan), and a pear. Two women with their pink sweatervest-clad dog Claire, took our pic. And then we hiked down. As usual, down was fast. Back over streams, down switchbacks, and over the raging river. We reached by bottom at 2:30. Back to the city at 3:30 with plenty of time to prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts the next day.

IMG_3210
Icy Annette Lake
IMG_3209
Green waters
IMG_3208
Perty
IMG_3211
Jared and me

 

Advertisements

Granite Mountain – November 2014

IMG_3091
Low fog and clouds from Granite Mountain

Jean

Winter has arrived! Well at least at 5,000 feet it has… The day off from work and a mere 20-30% chance of rain meant a nice, solid hike in the Snoqualmie Pass with friend and coworker Eve (who also keeps a sweet hiking blog). We wanted to get out for one last fall-ish hike before the serious rain/snow started so we were off to Granite Mountain – a medium distance hike with solid elevation gain and a lookout tower at the top. We were hoping for epic views, but were met with something more like epic clouds. Still a good hike. I’ll definitely have to come back here on a clear day though…

 

November 20. Hike: 8.6 miles. Elevation gain: 3800 feet. High point: 5629 feet. Destination: Granite Mountain.

IMG_3092
Snack time on Granite Peak

Eve and I left the city around 8 am and drove the hour to Snoqualmie Pass. It was somewhat cloudy when we left the city, but by the time we reached the mountains it was raining and snow chain advisory signs were flashing along the highway. We noted the snow by the roadside, parked in the lot, tossed on our raingear, and headed off into the fog.

The trail was damp, the ground hard and frozen, some light snow/slush along the sides of the trail, and the skies gray. At 1.2 miles in we took the right fork, away from Pratt Lake and toward Granite Mountain. By then the rain was letting up some, so we shed some

Views of thick fog
Views of thick fog

layers and forged ahead. The trail grew steeper and rockier and the switchbacks gave way to mountain views. We climbed up and up and as we did the appearance of snow grew a little more and a little more. Gaps in the clouds occasionally gave way to glimpses of blue, but for the most part, it was all gray. As the trail began to flatten out, more snow appeared (1-2 inches) and the trail became harder to find, but Eve did it with success. We talked about donning our microspikes, but never really wanted to dig them from our packs, and we survived well with bare boots with only minor slipping.

IMG_3094
Me and Eve under the lookout tower

The last push to the top was a bit steeper and there were a few inches of snow on the ground. When we got to the top it was as cloudy as ever, winds blowing slightly. We were psyched to escape the elements inside the lookout tower…but it was locked. Bummer. According to the latest WTA trail report, the tower was open only days earlier. Another reason to come back in nice weather. We put on our warmer layers and ate a few snacks below the tower before turning around and finding our way down.

Once out of the thick fog, the skies opened up to reveal yet more clouds surrounding the mountains below. Really sweet. Then down, down, down. We passed by woman with a dog on her way to the top. Then a man with a dog. And before we knew it, we were at the bottom. Success!

Cloud views
Cloud views

Anderson Lake, North Cascades – November 2014

Jean

Has it really been over a month since I last hiked? Was Wonderland really the last thing?? I racked my brain, and the answer: Wait…No. No it wasn’t. Jared, Sam, Megan, and I hiked to Annette lake in early October (which was a sweet hike, a mild 7.5 miles with 1,400 feet elevation gain, a pretty lake with a small waterfall on a nice, clear day, solid company). However, the Wonderland hike was the last hike I blogged about. Time for a new hiking blog post about an even more recent hike to Anderson Lake…

November 8. Hike: 3 miles. Destination: Anderson Lake

IMG_2975
Jared on the trail
IMG_2974
To Anderson Lake

Jared and I went on an itty bitty hike in the North Cascades. It was a long drive from Seattle (3 hours. unless your in horrendous traffic in which case it’s more like 4+). But the hike was worth it for the views – Baker and Shuksan. And it was the first time either of us have been in the North Cascades. We’d been stuck in the city for so long It was just time to escape. Jared had a work meeting on Friday and I had to work Saturday afternoon. So the plan: drive to the mountains Friday night. Camp in the car. Hike in the morning. Drive back to Seattle late morning.

 

Friday – We packed the car with our hiking and camping gear on Friday afternoon and forged north on I-5 through wild traffic and detours. We ate amazing greasy burgers for dinner in Sedro-Wooley at Skagit Valley Express Burgers and got hooked on Serial. We bumped along Forest Road 1107, car camped in my Toyota matrix in the empty trail parking lot, and slept restlessly.

IMG_3034
Baker poking through the trees

 

Saturday – Awake! The sound of a car door closing rouses us from our restless slumber. 8:30 am! How did we sleep so late? Eh, we’re on vacation. Sort of. We’ll only have enough time to go to Anderson Lake not both Andersonand Watson. We spy a guy dressed in hunter orange amble from his car into the woods. Oh yeah, it’s hunting season… Jared and I fire up the camp stove, make warm coffee, and eat granola bars. We pack up and head off into the woods. We’re excited for our excursion, albeit a short one. And it’s totally worth it.

The sky is clear and blue. Mt. Baker is poking through the trees. The air is cool and frosty. The trail is lined with these awesome frost crystals. We’re the only ones around. We snap pictures and admire the sweet alpine meadow. A loud bird noise startles us (we later discover it’s a grouse). We take the right fork that leads to Anderson Lake and spend a few minutes scouting and then crossing the outlet stream from Anderson Lake. Views of Baker are awesome from here! Puddles are frozen over just enough to look artistic and space age. The blueberries – frozen blueberries! – that dot the hills and trails are just as delicious as ever. We spend a few minutes exploring and admiring the best camp spots (we’ll come back when the weather is nice) before we have to turn around and go home. Back across the stream, up the hill, into the meadow, and over the boardwalk. A pair of middle aged men with a dog pass us and we chat about how awesome this spot is.

We eat some snacks when we reach the parking lot, toss our things in the car, and wind our way out along of FR-1107. We’ll be back soon – definitely a spot to return to.

IMG_3032
Me & Baker
IMG_3031
Baker from Anderson Lake
IMG_3028
And Baker
IMG_3030
Space age puddles
IMG_3029
Trail junction
IMG_3027
Clouds parted for Baker
IMG_3023
Baker and Shuksan