Winding through the dense woods as a heavy fog shifted and settled in on us I was glad we had gotten some thorough directions for finding the trailhead. I had heard of Blanca Lake many times from countless friends and consistently witnessed the plethora of social media posts of its uniquely colored glacial water, amazing views and appeal as a high quality, must-do hike among Pacific Northwesterners. Despite a little inclement weather on a Labor Day trip with an adventure crew that even He Man and The Masters of The Universe couldn't hold a candle to, we were off through the foggy forest with the only things we really needed; some friends, some tents, ample beverages and an indefatigable attitude toward being wet.
While we may not have been able to see much on the trek in, we had beaten a fair share of the crowds with an early start and convened at the lake's edge to assess our next obstacle; the actual lake. With a solid flow into the gorge below and nowhere to cross we decided it best to just de-boot and fjord the frigid glacial waters to continue our expedition in search of a campsite.
Find one we did and bringing our own blue skies via big blue tarp, we were able to withstand a freak hailstorm, a dusting of snow and plenty of rain before enjoying some camp coffee and chocolate chip pancakes to boost morale, along with our blood sugar.
With the mist rising and falling along jagged peaks and lichen covered mountains, a maze through boulders strewn across a glaciated path began to take us on a small journey to waterfalls, rock scree and unbelievable views only made better and more ethereal with a heavy bank of fog pressing in and around us.
We didn't quite make it to the glacier, but its as good a reason as any, to go back.
Homies, flasks, meat sticks and mud. What more could you ask for?
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I seem to find myself in hairbrained situations quite often. The latest being a last minute decision to go on a quick and easy overnighter to beautiful (we think) Watson Lakes in the Mt Baker National Forest. At a mere 4400 foot elevation, a nice heavy snowpack wasn't quite on our radar until we had to park about a mile from the trailhead blocked by some good size classic Northwest slush piles. Pressing on with the thought of a pristine lake at the end of a Measly 2.5 mile hike on our minds was an easy decision, but one that would make the rest of the evening interesting to say the least. Hitting the trailhead at about 8:30 p.m. some really nice temperatures kept us from being apprehensive about night hiking, and having our lamps and trudging through the snow kept us feeling pretty awesome as well, that is until we found ourselves dropping in elevation, searching in the dark, in a solid 4-5 feet of snow, for a trail that was about 20 inches wide. Sidehilling, scrambling and gritting and clawing our way through brush, slush and warily navigating rock fields with a good post-holing risk and backtracking to the correct area where we would go over a small saddle, to see the beautiful lake moonlit because it was entirely frozen over and covered in more snow. Sliding down towards the water's edge on an old avalanche track while watching a huge lightning storm on the horizon and seeing more stars than I have in months, made the experience more than worthwhile though, and some steak kebabs and rum and coke courtesy of Mike, who makes the honorable mention list for jumping on the trip without a shred of gear, no headlamp and still being able to pack both beverage and steak morsels, made the weekend one of the best this summer so far.
Here's to believing theres no such thing as too late to have fun.
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I am in denial that the summer is winding down. I met up for a support group with 9 other people, who are also in denial of this. We spent two days at our mobile retreat center in beautiful Louis Lake hiking, exploring, swimming fishing, climbing, adventuring in all senses of the word and partaking in other summer activities as a therapeutic process for fulfilling a mental 'summer quota' of fun things to do while its still nice out. I hope you will be honest with yourself, and join our group, for your own health's sake.
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