Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Melakwa Lake

With it being so warm, we decided that a trip to an alpine lake would be a great idea.  We really wanted some water at Noble Knob to cool off in....So we found Melakwa Lake on the WTA sight.  It's easy enough to find as the directions are very good from the WTA. We arrived at 9AM to an already full parking lot. We parked at the head in parking .25 miles from the trail head.  It was the best idea as the side of the road was full by the return trip making the whole area just a mess to maneuver around.  There was a WTA work party at the trail head...thank you for all you do!  They cut the bushes and a tree across the trail by the end of day--not quite to the crossing at Denny Creek.  We made it easily to Denny Creek and no one was there by the time we got there.  The first 2 miles are pretty easy with not a lot of elevation gain, but after those 2 miles, the trail starts getting serious. Lots of rocks, but no problems with footing.  You go in and out of woods...the woods giving a little temperature relief when the sun is out!  Lots of switch backs then head into steeper switchback for the last mile before you crest the ridge.  Once at the top it's a nice little .25 mile downward trek to the lake.  The lake had a few campers already and lots of hikers already peppered around basking in the sunlight.  We kept going around the lake to Upper Melakwa lake which was less crowded.  We found ourselves a nice big boulder close to the edge and climbed up for an amazing 2 hour lunch.   Terah and her hubby, Adam, took a swim in the lake, which was freezing! I made it only up to my waist as I wimped out.  As Terah put it 'It just takes your breath away!"  There is a large patch of snow, which Terah stopped to make a snow angel. Our trip back down was uneventful, but we must warn you...the trek out past Denny will be slow as families are coming and going with small children.  They don't pull over to let you past if you are faster.  Should we return, we plan on leaving from the Granite Mountain trail head as it is 10 miles from there and hit less 'rush hour traffic' on that last mile down.  We clocked out door to door at 10 miles with actual hiking time of 4 hours round trip.  Great day..wonderful views as you can see below:
no people yet at Denny Creek

Melakwa Lake

Upper Melakwa Lake

The plunge!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Noble Knob

We just hit this lovely hike on August 3rd.  It's been on our wish list for quite some time now.  We went the longer hike on the rougher road.  Now, I think a lot of people really over react when it comes to road conditions. Was it good? No, but it's a FOREST road, so we don't expect it to be great.  Would we drive up it if it was muddy?  No, we are more sensible than that.  But we do have a 4WD truck that's in good shape and we take our time.  There are hair pin turns, but they are wide enough to get up with little to no problems.  I never had it in 4WD just 2WD low.  When the road it good, it's good. Where it's bad, it's bad.  Just don't go tearing up and down it and be aware of other drivers.  Good sense.  That's my soap box time...let's get to the review.

It's on forest road 7174 on the left.  I clocked it as 31 miles from the light right after the rangers station leaving Enumclaw.  It's only named the forest road, so do not look for a sign that says Corral Pass Road.  If you get the National park you have gone 1.5 miles too far.  We got to the trail head about 9:45.  We started up by the hitching posts.  This will be a little tricky footing and steep until you get up to the trail.  If you want to start from the actually trail head, you will find it by the picnic table and trash cans further in.  We came back this way. The hike actually had a little more oompf than we thought it would and we were very pleased.  There were a few slippery spots, so you may want poles from time to time.  We mostly followed the main trail, but made a few side trips to get better views from time to time.  We made it to the Knob in 2 hours with the side trips.  The bugs at the top of the Knob were pretty brutal and we didn't stop very long as even with bug spray we were getting chewed up.  Make sure you have plenty of water, there is no water source here.  A few trickles in the first mile that the dogs got to enjoy on the way back. Great views, lots of wild flowers and good company!  Oh and NO BEARS!  Just lots of spider webs that we had to dodge or go under.  The webs were across the trail like crazy!

Hex, we just can't get enough of this one can we?

Hex, the summer return!!  We did this little lovely climb on July 4th.  It was a warm, blue skies kind of day and why wouldn't you want to add a little sweat to it?  We decided on making this an AUTHENTIC hike by going up the snowshoe route as we love to add pain and more elevation to our lives.  It's obvious no one else wanted to as we so no other HUMAN footprints on the way up.  Lots of deer prints and scat along with some other stuff we didn't want to identify.  We parked at the sno park area and headed up.  We made it to the yellow gate and saw our first deer of the day hopping towards us.  We ran into many deer on the way up, even a mother and her young one with spots still.  They were on the trail coming at us.  We made it to the trail head easily enough and then headed the brutal next few miles. It's so worth it, so just suck it up and go. The ridge is beautiful, breezy and one of our best lunch spots ever.  On the way down, we ran into more deer and more of note a big ass brown bear.  Walking right across the trail and then stopped to look at us.  We were pretty close...as close as we would ever wish to be...maybe 25 to 30 yards away upwind from him.  (We assume it was a him, no young cubs in sight thankfully.)  With the wind the way it was and we both were coming around corners I think we surprised one another.  We turned around up the hill for 20-30 feet, made a lot of noise, and he was gone after a few minutes time.  This was our first bear sighting and hope to make it our last.  Keep the deer, lose the bear is what we have to say about that.  No we didn't take pictures.  We value our lives thank you very much.  But we saw him about 1.5 miles from the winter trail head, so if you do go this way, please be careful.  It was odd as we saw him about 2:30 in the afternoon--but it was near the creek. 

Our destination is in sight!!!

We made it!!!

our 'we saw our first bear!!!' faces...once we are almost to the car that is!

Snoquera Falls June 9th

Well, it sure has been a while since we have been on to update all that we have been up to lately!!  We have been getting out there, just not as much as we would have liked.  On June 9th, a rather gray day, we headed up to Snoquera falls as when we visited last time it was trickling.  Bridal Veil was so amazing that we thought we should give this one a second look.  It is an easy hike up.  The trail was empty but for a group of seniors from Kent on a day hike too.  They all thought our dogs were tough making this trip---if they only knew. Easy footing, nice trip up and they were flowing good.  We were back in the area yesterday and I am sure they no longer look like this! We hiked up to the base of the falls, found the loop this year and even checked out their interpretative trail.  We drove to the federation forest center on the way back and had lunch by the white river.  The sun came out for us there while we ate.  (Please note to park there you will need a discovery pass.)  

From the loop, which we fully enjoyed!
From the interpretative trail

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bridal Veil and Lake Serene

May 25th we packed up and headed up to Steven's Pass for something different.  We have been wanting to see the falls here for sometime.  We have thought about doing it as a snowshoe, actually. Glad we went now, as the snow melt made the falls extremely impressive.  The trail to the falls was a little muddy with a few streams to cross easily.  The little dog made it no problem over these lower streams.  About 1.5 to 2 miles we found the split (it would be hard to miss) and we decided to see the falls early as there were only a few people about (at 9:15AM 7 cars in the parking lot)  and by the sounds of all the reviews, this is a popular hike.  We were thrilled that we did! We ran into one guy coming down (wet, but we thought that he was just REALLY sweaty!) and then another 2 ladies who told us it was the best they had ever seen on top of 'be prepared to get wet!"  And they were right.  The roar of the falls could be heard very quickly!  We loved them and we also looked like we took a shower after 5 minutes of snapping pics.  Terah's video say it all.

We spent half and hour or so at the falls and then headed back to the split to head up to Lake Serene.  The trail is in pretty good shape.  Lots of stairs and rocks...it is quite a rocky trail about 1 mile up.  There were only 2 spots of snow to cross and by now we are sure that they are gone.  We said lots of 'WOW'S" on this hike.   The lower falls are just as nice as the upper falls:

And then there was when we got out of the trees, turned a corner only to see:

Not to mention, once you get to the lake and you see:

The lake was so beautiful and looked fake at times.  We hiked out along the trail, following the signs to Lunch Rock.  As it advertised: an amazing place for lunch.  Lots of little avalanches across the lake to keep you entertained while eat your lunch.  The far away rumblings and the snow crashing towards the ground all spectacular.  We really did not want to leave and stayed an hour or more before we turned around and headed back.  This is one of our favorites, which we shall return during different seasons.  5 hours with a very long lunch! 

Oh, directions are very simple, to get on the road to the falls, there is actually a turn lane and sign...so we found it no problems.  Just down the road a little more is the Iron Goat!!!  Love that one too!