A slaked thirst

A commonly held belief about the Pacific Northwest is that it rains all the time. While, admittedly, it does feel like that at times; those times lie primarily between the months of November and May, sometimes June. Currently we are in the middle of a full on drought.

So, after a couple of hikes with minimal water, I decided to search out streams, a lake, and hopefully the namesake for these mountains: some cascades. What I got was way more than I bargained for.calmstreamLast Import - 027The trail to Lake Ann in the Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest begins at a high-elevation (cheater) trailhead and actually descends through forest to a hanging valley. In this basin, a creek slowly meanders extending the bloom time of the flora pretty much right until the snow flies in the fall. Last Import - 037hangingvalley2The trail re-enters forest and climbs for a couple miles with several glorious rills and rivulets to maneuver. The pups sure appreciated the many opportunities to hydrate and cool off! pupsdrinkingSoon we emerged from the tree-line and crossed huge snowfields, talus slopes, and ripe meadow losing then regaining the trail along the way.Last Import - 044The uninviting frozen-over lake steered my attention elsewhere and I noticed a climber’s trail toward the summit of Mt. Shuksan. And more water; this time in the form of hanging glaciers.Last Import - 067Last Import - 077Between the glaciers, high alpine flora, and cascades I was nigh giddy and followed the decent tread up until it fizzled. Then I packed up the poles and scrambled up to another world. A world I don’t really have any more words for.Last Import - 134 Last Import - 136 Last Import - 133 Last Import - 129 Last Import - 084 Last Import - 081 Last Import - 080 Last Import - 144 Last Import - 142

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7 thoughts on “A slaked thirst

  1. Spectacular!

    I was going to do Ann Lake this weekend, but was talked out of it by an unfavorable forecast, and rumors that the trail was overgrown, hard to follow, and involved difficult stream crossings. Is any of that true? (I wound up at Spider Meadow instead, from the Chiwawa River, northwest of Leavenworth. It was another amazing place, and if you haven’t been there you should consider it.)

    • Thanks Forrest! The Lake Ann trail on the Mt. Baker Hwy (not to be confused with Lake Ann at Rainy Pass/Hwy 20) is in great shape. Could your source have been referring to that other Lake Ann? I fully agree that Spider Meadow is a very special place and I plan on getting back there soon! So many places to go!!!

      • She told me the Lake Ann by Rainy Pass is a decent little side trip and that Maple and Heather Passes are “the premier ridge walk in the state.” She also said “you haven’t lived ’til you’ve been to Harts Pass.” Right on both counts. But it was the Lake Ann between Mounts Baker and Shuksan she was talking about. In any case, I’m glad to hear that’s not true, I’ll have to make a trip that way. Thanks for the update about the trail condition! 🙂

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