For Hike 4/52, we set out to Lake 22 for a very, very wet hike. We didn’t realize how heavy the rain was going to be, because by the time we were finished, we were soaked down to our last layer. You know that feeling when you feel like you cannot be anymore drenched from rain? Yep, that was us.
*Forgive the poor phone-quality photos, we didn’t bring the camera with such heavy rain*
Distance: 5.4 miles, RT
Gain: 1350 ft
Dogs: Allowed, on leash
Pass/Permits: Northwest Forest Pass
I’ll be honest… I am not the fan of the rain. In fact, it’s kind of the worst… BUT, moving here (to Seattle) I have decided to ignore it, get a good rain jacket, and solider on because if I don’t, I’d never do anything!
This hike was a test of how not to be a fair-weather hiker. When we left the house, it wasn’t raining but by the time we arrived, the mist had turned into a steady drizzle. We decided that since we had committed by doing the drive, we might as well tough it out.
For reference, this is how it looks in winter & summer without the fog/rain:
(Photos are not mine, sources listed below)
This hike borders the Mount Pilchuck State Park. I’ve seen photos in the summer & winter, and it’s popular for a reason— it features views along the way and a beautiful alpine lake at the top. According to WTA, the name Lake 22 (or Twentytwo) is supposedly from nineteenth-century railroad maps that listed local creeks numerically; one particular creek and its source lake were assigned “22.” In 1947, the 790-acre Lake Twenty Two Research Natural Area (RNA) was formed and put logging to an end in this area to preserve the old growth cedar and hemlocks.
At the beginning, while trying to avoid a puddle, Brighton ended up stepping into a sink-sand like portion on the trail and instantly starting sinking in. He almost lost a shoe! It was crazy how quickly it happened.
About halfway up the trail, the ever-present puddles turned into slushy snow/ice.
At 1.5 miles into the trail, we came to a view that offers vistas of Whitehorse Mountain and Three Fingers on clear days. Nonetheless, it was a nice break from the forest to appreciate how far we had come already. This portion has some sparsely lined trees, which combined with the mist at that point, created a very creepy vibe. I felt like we were entering a horror movie.
On clear days, the lake is reflective and you can see the northern face of Mount Pilchuck. It had turned into a heavy rain at this point, so we took a few photos and turned around quickly.
Up until 3/4 through the hike, my shoes had done well keeping the deep waters out of my shoes, but by the end I was walking in puddles within my shoes and started avoiding the puddles on the trail. The path turned into a mini waterfall as there were several rushing stream crossings with the heavy rain. I’d highly recommend trekking poles given these conditions. Unfortunately, I lost one of my snow baskets on my poles at the top but they’re easy to replace. 🙂
We were extremely thankful to return to the car by the end. The rain had soaked through all of our “waterproof” layers at this point. All I wanted was a hot shower and dry change of clothes. This hike really reminded me of my long hike in Queenstown, NZ in 2013— the Routeburn.
We both felt pretty accomplished and like true Northwesterners after this hike!
For more information & recent trip reports, visit WTA!