Hope And Mig Lakes

Kim was free for the first day of a four day Fourth of July holiday weekend. At least four days for all those taking off the Monday. Most places were sure to be packed. How about a lesser used trail? We headed east on Highway 2 to Hope and Mig Lakes. Most of the way we were under a marine layer of low clouds. Near Skykomish it turned to mostly blue sky. Kim is a volunteer ranger again this year. We stopped at the Skykomish Ranger Station for her to check in and pick up a shovel. It was a pretty short drive from there to the Tunnel Creek trailhead. It is only a mile off the highway and the road is in excellent shape. Any vehicle can reach the trailhead. We arrived at 8:45 am. There was one van in the lot. We were on the trail just after 9:00 am. The folks in the van were not ready yet.

I had hiked this trail one time and only uphill. We did a trip to Thunder Mountain Lakes in 2008 that time and exited via Surprise Lake. I had very little memory. That trip went by Hope Lake but I had never been to Mig Lake. Kim had been two both lakes several times. It is only 1.6 miles to Hope Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Another half mile north on the PCT lies Mig Lake. I was not expecting much in the way of wildflowers this late on a trail in deep forest. We were pleasantly surprised. The flower show began immediately. First were bunchberries aka Canadian dogwood. I've seen lots of them on a trail before. This was at another level. Huge patches of them. Appropriate, since this was Canada Day up north. In places the trail was lined with them. In other spots the entire ground was covered. Thousands of them. Five minutes in and it was already worth the trip.

big white queens cup flowers were also blooming in profusion. In places the bunchberries and queens cup were intermixed. Quite a scene. Right near the start we saw several coral root too. The trail is in forest most of the way up. There area a few open spots higher up. The creek is in sound and sometimes in sight though it is well below the trail. Forget about switchbacks. This trail goes straight up. It is good trail and not very steep for the first half then much steeper and a bit rocky higher up.  There were no trees down across the trail. One tree rests partly over the trail. I had to duck a bit.  We had one short view up to a snowy peak up the valley.

The white flowers continued with strawberries. We saw some yellow violets. Valerian bloomed in a number of places. Some columbine bloomed above the trail. A couple trillium were blooming. Many more were finished. Kim noticed some flowering wild ginger. A few salmonberries were blooming. Higher, especially in the open spots, bluebells were all along the trail. Add some false Solomon's seal and march marigolds. Yes there were a lot of blooming wildflowers. All that was in the first 1.6 miles. All the creeks were running. Two were waterfalls above and below the trail. I stopped for a lot of photos and we hiked at a slow pace. No problem on a short hike when we had all day.

We arrived at Hope Lake at 11:12 am. Two hours to hike 1.6 miles. The lake is snow free along with most of the shore. There are some drifts that are still one to two feet thick. We took a break and the folks from the van caught up with us. Earlier we met two hikers who were heading for Lake Josephine. We met them later in the day and they reported making it to a point above the lake but chose not to descend as the snow became quite deep. Kim suggested the van folks continue on to Mig to camp.

Soon we were heading north on the PCT towards Mig Lake. There are still some small and larger snow patches but the trail is easy to follow. As we neared Mig forest gave way to open meadows and the snow ended. It was sunny and warm but not hot and there was a nice low breeze blowing. Absolutely perfect conditions. Between the two lakes we were able to divert water off the trail in several places. Ranger Kim at work. We sat down at the lake for lunch and did not want to leave. It was the first day of a holiday weekend and we had seen four other people all day. So much for over crowding. After a long break we headed around the lake. On the way we crossed an inlet creek where we saw two good sized trout. Earlier we saw fish jumping in the lake.

Kim checked out the campsites and the toilets. All was in good shape. We headed a short way down the PCT below the lake and ran into four hikers. They planned to make it to Deception Lakes by the end of the day. They likely had a lot of snow to navigate on the way. We met the folks from the van. They were excited to be the only folks camping at the lake. We thought about heading back but it was just too nice. We sat down for another rest. We did find more marsh marigolds and a nice patch of shooting stars. Yet another flower in bloom.

Finally at 3:15 pm we headed back. Slowly we hiked back. The folks heading to Lake Josephine passed us again. They had a great day on the trail. We met the last of the folks we were to see this day. Two folks day hiking in to Mig Lake. that brought the total for the day to ten other people. It was already 4:15 when we reached Hope Lake. The last 1.6 miles was faster but not fast. Lots of wildflowers to see. Even some bunchberry climbing up a snag. We finally made it back to the car at 5:35 pm. The end to a really fun day.

Sometimes the goal is to hike fast and cover a lot of miles. Sometimes it's to gain a lot of elevation to a summit. Sometime, like this day, it's just to enjoy the trail and spend a long afternoon at a lake. Doing all those types of hikes keeps it interesting. So to summarize, perfect weather, lots of wildflowers, two nice lakes, and very few other people. Not a bad way to spend a day.

Mixed Flowers
Bunchberry Field
Cloe Up Bunchberry
Snowy Peak
Kim On Trail
Climbing Bunchberry
March Marigold
Colorful Leaves
False Solomon's Seal
Sitka Valerian
Small Flowers
Very Small Flowers
Yellow Violet
More Marsh Marigolds
Hope Lake
Kim On Snow
Kim At Work
Mig Lake
Mig & Heather
Mig Lake View
Shooting Stars
Lakeside Meadows
Back At Hope Lake
Hillside Wildflowers
Kim Duck Now
Cascading Creek
Queen's Cup
False Lily Of The Valley
Bunchberry Border
Coral Root
A panorama shot of Mig Lake
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2017