Harpo & I are continuing our exploration of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, which is about as close to Seattle as wilderness gets. This time we decided to push further and grab a couple of peaks while we were at it. Arriving Sunday afternoon we got started late – about 3 pm – and headed up into the wilderness area, taking the trail towards Island and Rainbow Lakes with the goal of camping at Thompson Lake. Taking the Mt Defiance Trail and descending, we got about 2.5 miles from Thompson Lake before the trail on the north side of Mount Defiance was too snowy to proceed safely. We turned back, summiting Mt Defiance before camping just south of Mason Lake. In the morning we decided to climb Granite Mountain on our way back to the car – getting about .25 miles beneath the lookout at the summit before we were stopped again by wet, slushy snow. The wildflowers – like beargrass & spreading phlox – were out in force, and water was plentiful. Overall a lovely couple days of walking…
There were small patches of snow, and a fleet of mosquitoes at Island Lake
A serene surface and crystal clear water at Rainbow Lake
Sunbeams on a distant horizon – Mt Defiance trail #1009
Panorama from the summit of Mount Definance.
Saw these Spreading Phlox all over the mountain.
Wild beargrass was blooming all up the trail to the Granite Mountain summit.
Distance: 17 Miles 6 miles in to Pratt Lake, with a side hike to Lower Tuscoha Lake (.6 each way) and Melakwa (1.7 each way, 1500 feet)
Elevation Gain: 2300 Feet
Date: June 29 – 30, 2014
Hikers: Groucho, Harpo
Duration: overnight 1pm – 9:30am
We’re experimenting with micro trips – leaving late in the day (or around midday) and driving within an hour radius of the city for a short overnight. This works out great when you only have a limited amount of time, but still want to get a night in the woods. It’s also logistically easier to plan as a group trip, which lowers the threshold of investment and makes it easier to invite the homies…
For this trip we hiked the 6 miles into Pratt Lake, arriving at 5pm, set up camp, and made the 4.5 mile roundtrip to Melakwa Lake with only umbrellas and water, arriving back at camp just in time to catch sunset over Pratt.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a large wilderness area spanning the Cascade Range of Washington state in the United States. The wilderness is located in parts of Wenatchee National Forest and Snoqualmie National Forest, and is approximately bounded by Interstate 90 and Snoqualmie Pass to the south and U.S. Route 2 and Stevens Pass to the north. The Alpine Lakes is the largest wilderness area near the population centers of Puget Sound, at approximately 390,000 acres,