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TR: Lake Twentytwo

Posted by gck Monday, July 7, 2014

Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation: 1350 feet
Trailhead directions and more on WTA.

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Left: Twentytwo Creek
Right: The forest -- “the real treat on this hike” according to the book

“The view is just okay,” Daniel said. “There are too many trees.”
“You’ve become quite the view snob,” I replied.
“I learned from the best.”

Yep, that snobbery has made it so I still haven’t hiked Mount Si, and it took me many years before hiking Tiger Mountain. A similar sort of snobbery – not wanting to spend the time hiking without putting in at least a certain number of miles or feet of elevation gain – has kept me from very nice hikes like Rattlesnake Ridge, Twin Falls, and Lake Twentytwo. It was time for that to change.

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Left: fireweed
Right: a flower I can’t seem to identify

Things finally lined up right so that I hiked to Lake Twentytwo (and enjoyed it!). We had an out-of-town guest to take hiking, Rainier was still too snowy, and I had just done Lake Serene, so I suggested Heather or Twentytwo. Daniel picked Twentytwo. We got up to the trailhead a little before 10, fully expecting to park in an overflow area, but apparently people were still hungover from the 4th of July festivities, and we got a spot in the main lot without problem. Up we went.

Lake Twentytwo from the outlet 

“Is there anything to see on this trail other than the lake?” Daniel asked as we walked through the forest that the book claimed was “the real treat on this hike.”

I’m not the biggest forest person, but fortunately, there was other stuff to see. Twentytwo Creek stayed pretty close to the trail most of the way up, and every so often, we’d get glimpses of some nice waterfalls. The trail also opened up to mountain views higher up, and ripe berries and flowers began to show up as well. It’s obvious that a lot of work has been put into maintaining this trail, and it was in very good condition. Only a few mud patches, and they weren’t bad enough for people to walk around them and start destroying vegetation. Nice to see, especially on a hike that gets so much traffic.

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Left: turquoise colored water, the boulderfield we climbed up
Right: Lake Twentytwo from the boulderfield

We finally reached the lake at the outlet and stood on the bridge, admiring the peaks in the background with waterfalls pouring down the cliff faces. Unfortunately, people have taken to carving their names and political statements into the bridge. Even nature isn’t immune to a dose of conspiracy theory! There were a few groups of people hanging out on that side of the lake, so we took our photos and started walking on the trail that went around the lake.

It’s hard to get good pictures of the lake because the trail is so close to the lakeside and so are the towering peaks around it. I wanted a better look, and I’m prone to “bad ideas” when I’m not completely exhausted, so I announced that I was climbing up a boulder field on the side of the lake. I told them they didn’t have to come along and I could meet up with them later, but they were up for it. So Kim got to do her first scramble! Nothing too tricky, just tiring. I found a somewhat flat, large boulder near the top of the field and sat down for lunch. The view from this point was definitely better – the color of the lake was prettier, and we could clearly make out the shallow sections of the lake and the deep center. From here, any people we could see were just faraway tiny specks.

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Left: Lakeside trail with pretty flowers
Right: Waterfalls coming down the cliffs

After eating and enjoying the view for awhile, we slowly made our way back down. Briefly encountered a pika who was probably happy that the humans were leaving his boulder field. We continued the walk around the lake, enjoying different angles of the lake. Turns out our timing was pretty good because we soon felt drops of rain. It stayed pretty light, and once we were back in the forest, we couldn’t feel anything at all, but the views definitely didn’t look as nice with the blue skies gone. Made it back to the parking lot and found all the car windows intact. We did notice a lot of people coming up as we went down, and there were many cars using the side of the Mountain Loop Highway as overflow parking for this hike. I can now fully understand why it’s so popular!



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