Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hike to Heather Lake

One of the things we love about Seattle is that its so easy to get to great outdoors activities like hiking and skiing. Yesterday we all decided it would be really fun to go on a nice hike in the mountains, even though the weather was a little rainy at home.  Eamon and Annick decided on a nice "moderate" hike to a mountain lake called Heather Lake, and we hopped in the car and drove out.

An hour or so later, we were parked at the trailhead and getting ready to head up. The setting was really amazing -- the foothills of the cascades where they get a ton of rain. I'm not sure if this area is a temperate rainforest or not, but it has many of the characteristics of one. Well, yesterday the rain was coming down pretty hard when we arrived. We're Seattlites, though, so we weren't going to be deterred by a little bit of rain. Off we went!

The Hike

The hike was fantastic. There was about a 1000 ft vertical gain, so there were a lot of steep uphills and rocky bits. There was also water -- lots of it. We counted 8 different creek crossings on our way up. Well, actually we kind of lost count :)

one of the many creek crossing on the way up. This is "Stairstep Falls"

The forest was beautiful. There were some old-growth trees with trunks that were enormous. There were also a lot of old-growth stumps of very old trees that had been cut down. There was moss everywhere, and in certain spots it made the forest look a little fuzzy :)

We made up lots of names for things we saw, like Turtle pond (because it was so shallow not even a turtle could swim in it) and old man rock (because it looked like an old man).

old growth stumps were everywhere, including "Elephant Stump" 

the stumps were super fun for climbing.
and for being super silly

It was raining most of the way up, so there was a sheen of water on all of the rocks and trees. There was moss covering practically every surface. Everything looked very glossy and lush. The trail alternated between sunny bits, long muddy stretches, steep rocky parts, lots of water and misty areas.

The Lake

After a long, hard hike up the trail we arrived at the lake. It was totally worth the effort:) It was a small mountain lake surrounded by cliffs, waterfalls, trees and some glaciers. There was mist all around, and we felt like we were up in the clouds

We were not alone at the lake. We saw lots of birds, a frog (that Eamon touched so that he hopped away), and lots and lots of no-see-ums. There were so many bugs at the lake that it felt like we were under attack. 
the bugs at the lake were relentless
All of that rain and mud on the hike up was fine, except that it made for some very muddy clothes. Even so, we still found some time for a nice picture of Eamon sitting on a big rock overlooking the lake. His hair is soaked, and pants and socks and shoes are caked with mud, but he's a happy kid. 

After a half-hour enjoying the lake, we headed back down, tired but happy. The Hike was over 4.5 miles long, with an elevation gain, and Eamon was a champ. He wanted to come back the next day. So we'll definitely be going again -- can't wait!

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