Spring is in the air my friends! It seems like everyone and their mother is feeling the urge to get outside, to hang out with their furry critters, and here in Washington, the freeze (both social and literal) is lifting!
Seattle in particular gets a very bad rap for being an anti-social city. Now, I’m not saying that this is totally untrue. I happen to be a major homebody, and could probably live the rest of my life with the friends that I have and my cats and be totally fine.* That being said, I think a lot of this reputation comes from the fact that (I’m going to go ahead and speak for everyone here) when you’ve had 9 days of sunshine in 6 months, you just don’t feel like doing anything! You want to curl up on the couch, have a glass of wine (or 3), and get cozy with the people you’re closest with. For me, these people include my cats.
* Okay, in reality, I would add like 7 more animals to the mix to feel truly content, but that’s a different story.
But now spring is here! There have been multiple consecutive days with sun breaks lasting more than an hour! My skin has once again begun the process of converting the suns rays to Vitamin D, and my brain is ever so grateful. So very grateful that it has miraculously gained the motivation and energy to socialize again! As, apparently, has everyone else’s in the region. I talked to my neighbor for the first time since the last snow, I called my parents, got a message from my brother, it’s time people! Time to come out of the dark, damp holes we’ve been living in since the rain started back in September, and be friends again! Hooray!
This melting of the icy social cocoon I’ve kept myself in goes hand in hand with the melting of the snow on the mountains, which for me means “real” hikes!
– Week 9 –
This weekend, I heeded the advice of countless patients and set off for Lake 22, a nondescript name for a stunning, and very popular destination. I had been told (probably 5 or 6 times) that if I wanted to see the wonders Lake 22 has to offer I would have to go early. Like get-up-when-some-people-are-falling-asleep-and-beat-the-sun early. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve read my introduction post, but I don’t really do before-the-sun early. I spend 5 days a week waking up before the sun, and in the winter it’s more like 7. So this time of year, when we get daylight for 13.5 hours and counting, I open my curtains and let it gently nudge me awake whenever my body feels like it’s bright enough. That is, when Bryce doesn’t close them because he wants to sleep later.
Anywho, the moral of that tangent is that we showed up to the trail head around 12:30pm, by which point it was pretty much packed! We got one of maybe 3 remaining parking spots, but the good news is that the place was emptying out as we showed up. I’m starting to like this afternoon hike thing.
As we started our way along the trail, there were numerous attractions drawing our attention. First there was the waterfalls. All along the lower mile or so of the trail, you meander back and forth, dipping nearer and further from the seemingly endless waterfalls that make up the primary outlet of the lake. If you take a moment to look around the massive old growth cedars, you can catch glimpses of each step in the mountain and the cool, crisp snow melt tumbling down it. Next we noticed the beautiful rock formations we were climbing. I wish I knew what type of rock this was, black and sturdy, it looked like shale with jagged edges and clear layers, but didn’t break under our feet, nor get slippery when wet. It was perfectly easy to walk on, though I was glad I had waterproof boots as there was so much snow melt coming down, a good portion of the trail was covered in running water. And then we had the bridges. I felt like I was walking through the Shire as we crossed the big, fantastically uneven cedar boards which lazily supported our weight over the creeks and falls.
There were a fair number of people on the trail, most of whom we passed going opposite directions, and we only got stuck behind a slower group once, but more important than the people were the puppies! So. Many. Puppies!! This is yet another sign of spring. It feels like everyone got a new canine friend, and I so badly want to join them! I currently live somewhere I can’t get new pets, but once I have the time/money/ability, you better bet my hiking crew will grow by 4 legs! There were giant German Shepherds, tiny little terriers, fluffy poms, and everything in between. Needless to say I got a lot of hand sniffs, and mildly freaked out with just a few “IT’S SO CUTE OH MY GAAAH”s. Puppies, man. Gotta love ’em.
The last quarter of this hike was by far the most interesting. Once we got past a large boulder field we ran into about 2-4 feet of snow. As in, complete coverage in icy, compact snow. Bryce and I were completely stoked, (Bryce in particular, I swear he turns into a goat, or a dog, or something, the way he jumps around and prances through the stuff) but we could see the concern on the faces of those less prepared. This being a very popular hike, a lot of the other patrons were in converse, street shoes, skirts, jeans, lots of things that just don’t usually work super well in slippery, uneven snow. We thankfully knew that this was coming, and though I did fall down a couple times, (as I explained to the other strangers on the trail, it’s okay, I’m really good at falling) we persisted and finally made it to the stunning, snow-covered, cliff-surrounded lake! The sun came out to greet us, and we heard avalanches thundering down the backside of the ridge the whole time we were there.
At this point I had one larger than average fall and slammed my leg into the railing of a bridge, resulting in a massive purple bruise, but no real damage (again, really good at falling). We had a little snack, stared repeatedly at the stunning scenery and headed back down, sliding along the snow dunes, and stopping to peak at any of the waterfalls we had missed before.
Starting around 12:45pm, we got back to the trail head around 3:20pm. The total distance was about 5.5 miles, and we gained about 1350 feet. If you ever have a chance to go to Lake 22, do it. Just do it. It’s beautiful and worth the crowds. Do it!