5.4 miles round trip / 1350′ elevation gain
This fall has been a great hiking season in the Pacific Northwest with incredible weather throughout September. I was excited when a friend contacted me about a mid-week hike to Lake 22 last month. She and I met through the Pacific Northwest Outdoor Women Group, which has been a great resource for meeting women who love the outdoors.
I left Seattle early in the morning and discovered how much I enjoy hiking mid-week. The highways were wide open as I headed north, with gridlocked traffic travelling in the opposite direction. In no time, I arrived to a mostly empty parking lot just as my hiking partner arrived. We layered up and hit the trail with a cool, crisp chill in the air anticipating to warm up quickly from the uphill hike.
The trail to the lake slowly climbs its’ way up into the forest switching back and forth through the trees. Once the trail crosses Twentytwo Creek, it continues alongside it with the sounds of rushing water always in the near distance. With several creek crossings along the way, many little waterfalls can often be seen and heard. At times the trail is taken over by the large tree roots jetting out from the sides. One long section of the trail crosses a large scree field and opens up to wide views of the valley below. It seemed like out of nowhere, Lake 22 appeared right in front of us dominating the landscape.
The two of us made our way along the shoreline of Lake 22 following the well maintained trails and boardwalks. After seeing a pika warning us to stay away from the the boulders below Mount Pilchuck, we found a shady spot nearby to rest and enjoy a quick snack. My hiking partner and I both enjoy nature and wildlife photography, so we had our cameras equipped and ready to shoot as we snacked and shared hiking stories by the lake shore. As we continued along down the trail, the sun was sparkling in the reflection of the lake waters.
Although we were virtually alone during the hike up to Lake 22, the trail was packed with fellow hikers as we made our way back down. With camera in hand, we stopped at each creek crossing hoping to get shots of the rushing waters we could hear in the distance. Unfortunately, many of the waterfalls are just out of reach for a good photograph, so mostly only mental pictures were taken.
We arrived to a very full parking lot in the early afternoon. I was happy to have enjoyed another beautiful day in the PNW with a new friend. With similar hiking styles and good conversation, I left hoping that this would our first of many adventures together.