Monday, November 6, 2017

Mount Walker

 On a beautiful sunny morning after fresh lowland snow, headed up to Quilcene off of Hwy 101 to hike up to Mount Walker. The road is still open, so I was able to park at the trailhead. This is a 5 mile round trip hike with 2,000 ft of elevation gain (in the first 2 miles).
The first part of the trail was snow free. Watched the sun light up the top of the trees.
 Not many signs of fall left.
 Trail became snowy at 1,400 ft
 Sun lighting up the ground through the forest.
 North Viewpoint. About 4-5" of snow on top of Mount Walker 2,800 ft.
 Northeast Olympic Mtns.
Pano from the North Viewpoint. Hazy over Puget Sound, but was able to see Mt Baker

 1/4 mile walk toward the South Viewpoint. Glimpse of Mount Constance (I think) through the trees.
 Fresh snow on the way to the South Viewpoint. Had the top of Mount Walker to myself this morning.

 View from the South Viewpoint. Mt Rainier below the puffy cloud across Dabob Bay.

Nearby hills
Winter is coming

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Melakwa Lakes

Drove up to the Denny Creek Trailhead near Snoqualmie Pass for a fall hike to Melakwa Lakes, 8.5 miles round trip with 2,500 ft elevation gain.
The trail crosses a bridge over Denny Creek.

The first part of the trail is in a forest

About a mile up the trail, it crosses Denny Creek at a large rocky area.

The creek was running low, so we had no trouble crossing the water.

The trail goes through several open talus fields. We saw a bit of color in the open areas.

Another 0.25 miles we came to views of Keekwulee Falls and Denny Mountain.

The trail continues up the valley
As the trail starts climbing more steeply towards Hemlock Pass, we had a view of Snowshoe Falls, there wasn't much water in it.

Reach Hemlock Pass at 3.8 miles from the trailhead. Hemlock Pass is forested. Melakwa Lake is another 0.4 miles with 150 ft descent.

First view of Melakwa Lake

Pano of Melakwa Lake and Bryant Peak

0.2 miles along the rocky left side of Melakwa Lake leads to Upper Melakwa Lake
View of Upper Melakwa Lake and Kaleetan Peak from the creek between the two lakes

more views of Upper Melakwa Lake

Heading back down the creek between the two Melakwa Lakes

more views of Melakwa Lake
cool boulders along Melakwa Lake
There were lots of fallen leaves, the fall foliage is fading.
But the remaining foliage was lit up in the afternoon sun

another view of Keekwulee Falls on the hike down the trail

Friday, October 27, 2017

Snow and Gem Lakes

 Headed up to Snoqualmie Pass to hike up to Snow and Gem Lakes. 10 miles round trip with 2,200 ft overall gain.
The first 1.5 miles in a gradual gain up a valley. There was some nice fall foliage along the trail.
 Watched the sun light up the mountains at the end of the valley
 The trail then climbs steeply up a series of switchbacks until it crosses the headwall at the end of the valley. Nice views of local peaks
 The trail then descends down to Snow Lake. There were some icy sections on the trail down to the lake.

At Snow Lake, the main trail crosses a small pond via some rocks, and goes around the north side of the lake.
Looking down on the log crossing the outlet of the lake.

It was very windy at the outlet today.

Enjoyed the fall foliage as the trail climbs up to the ridge at the west end of Snow Lake.

 View looking eastward to other peaks at Snoqualmie Pass area
 Found some pretty ponds along the trail
 Another pond, Snow Lake far below
 more fall foliage
 Enjoyed the different views as this trail meanders up the ridge.
 Snow Lake below
partially frozen pond

 Gem Lake with Wright Mountain
 Gem Lake, I had the lake to myself as I had a lunch break here.
 Better lighting as I hiked back down the trail.
View of Snow Lake as I came down the scree field.

 creek winding through the snow
 took my time enjoying the fall colors

 back at the log crossing over the outlet at Snow Lake, a bit less windy.
looking down the outlet from the log crossing

Snow Lake in the afternoon

 Loved the turquoise color seen in the afternoon
 View of Snow Lake as I returned over the ridge to head back to the trailhead.

There are several places where streams flow over the trail in the valley
The afternoon sun lit up the fall foliage

Waterfall near the beginning of the trail.