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TR: Rachel Lake (ranting about dog owners)

Posted by gck Monday, July 19, 2010 0 comments

This is one in a series of trip reports that I’m back posting.

Distance: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 1600 or 2000 feet, depending on who you believe. Feels like more.
Trailhead directions and more info on WTA.


This was a gorgeous hike that could have been a lot more enjoyable if certain factors hadn’t been present. The good first… it’s lovely scenery getting there, and it’s lovely scenery most of the way to the lake. It’s on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, so you get to see the Cascades, Lake Kecheelus, Lake Kachess. The trail follows a creek a lot of the way up, so there are many waterfalls next to the trail. It also opens up to beautiful views of Hibox Mountain and the stuff around it. The lake itself is amazing, too, big enough to support lots of people hanging out without getting too crowded. The trail continues to Rampart Ridge and Alta Mountain if your legs have the strength.


The not so good…

1. Trail condition. Every book and trip report mentions this. The creek crossings involve some fun balance on rocks and logs, and for awhile the trail IS the creek. Most of the elevation gain is at the end, corresponding with the worst maintained part of the trail, so your legs are climbing steep, rough trail and wishing they weren’t. Numerically, this is easier than the hikes I normally do, but my legs felt more sore. I also saw a backpacker lose his footing and fall off the trail to the side. Fortunately for him, some trees caught him before he went tumbling down the hill. Moral of the story: be careful.

2. Groups. Overall, I felt like there was more solitude here than at Lake Serene, but when we ran into people, it was super annoying. I hate it when people follow close behind me when there is any balance involved, especially going downhill. And there was this giant group that I swear was bigger than the allowed 12. They would spread out and then rejoin at scenic points, where certain members of the group would be sure to stand in the middle of any view for as long as possible in order to ensure that any photo you took would be of them. Grr.

3. Idiots.

a. Litter: I saw gum, a chip bag, and several clumps of toilet paper by the lake. And the giant group from #2 left orange peels. Come on, people.

b. Dogs: So many unleashed dogs. I personally don’t care about unleashed dogs swimming in the lake, as long as they aren’t barking their heads off. But on the trail, especially on a trail that’s marked “endangered” because the fragile alpine landscape is being destroyed, leash your freaking dogs. I was delicately trying to navigate my way down some rocks when a large dog comes barreling down behind me, swerves right next to me, and hurls himself down a snowfield. Mike suggests to the owners that leashes might be a good idea.

Woman: Not in the woods!
Mike: Yes, in the woods. It’s the rule.
Man: Rules are made to be broken.
Mike: No, they aren’t. This is a protected forest, and rules exist so other people can enjoy it, too.
Woman: Oh, come on, live and let live! [apparently this is the Cliché Family]

Seriously? Why don’t we all trample the fragile meadows (oh wait, their dogs already did), cut switchbacks, leave toilet paper all over the place, and build a lakeside Starbucks? Live and let live. Next time I’m bringing chocolate.