Lake 22

It was the coldest weather in Washington State in three years. Clear skies and brutally cold. With single digit temperatures in the mountains Gwen and I chose a lower elevation lake as our destination. I was at Lake 22 in early May. Bare trail until the last mile then five feet of snow at the lake. This time there was just a little snow at the trailhead. We arrived at the not so early time of 9:45 am. It had already warmed up to 18 degrees. Ten minutes later we were on our way. The trail quickly begins to climb along the steep hillside. All the creeks were mostly frozen. Water running down the trail became solid ice. I'm amazed I did not fall. The multi day's of sub freezing weather had created some neat ice patterns. There were icicles and hair ice among a number of things. It's rare to see so much of these and we took many photos. Gwen put on microspikes and that was probably a good call.

After the icy section there was some snow, some ice,and some bare ground. In short order we reached the bridge over Twenty Two Creek. The creek was running but there was a lot of ice too. Trees were mostly flocked in snow that had turned icy. It was really pretty in a nearly black and white way. The big trees after the creek crossing are always appreciated. They too were highlighted by snow. Very little snow in the forest. We reached the big switchback right and went left on the short way trail to Twin Falls.  In the spring I enjoyed lots of water coming over the falls. It was snow free. This day was something else. The falls were almost entirely frozen. There was running water under all that ice. Taking photos meant taking off gloves. In a very short time my fingers were frozen. Soon we headed back to the trail.

I was pleasantly surprised when we broke out into the rock field. There was just enough snow to smooth out the rocky trail. It was not icy either. I don't think I have ever hiked there with better conditions. Across the valley we could see sunshine. That was a commodity we would not feel this day. The sun never gets high enough this time of year to touch the lake or any of the trail. There was a lot more icicles and a few icy water crossings. The snow was very dry and powdery. Not icy at all. We did not bring snowshoes and never had any need for them.

Once through the talus field we went back into forest. There were a number more frozen creek crossings. I finally put my microspikes on. They made a tremendous difference. I no longer felt I was about to take a tumble. A few switchbacks and we made the turn along the outlet creek heading towards the lake. Instead of feet of snow I saw in the spring it was now easy walking with just powdery snow underfoot. For the first time we felt wind. It was blowing down the outlet. Just a little breeze and cold became extremely cold. We reached the lake a few minutes later.

At the lake we turned left and crossed the outlet bridge. Great views from there. A little open water near the outlet and ice covered the rest of the lake. The enormous cliff behind the lake was highlighted with snow. There were huge chunks of frozen ice stuck to the headwall. With the blue sky overhead the view was terrific. A check of the thermometer read 10 degrees. I replaced wool hat with a balaclava. It was face numbing cold. We headed out on a clockwise loop around the lake. We saw no avalanches behind the lake. There is really not much snow up there yet. There were other people at the lake though we only passed a few of them.

We thought about stopping for lunch but at the far end of the lake it was 5 degrees and we chose to keep moving. Over the outlet we could see a shiny snowy peak in the sunshine. There was 5 or 6 inches of snow on the trail but it was so powdery it did not slow us down at all. No chance to have a snowball fight with that snow. Back at the outlet we chose to head on down. Lunch would be back in the car. It was 1:10 pm when we left the lake. The microspikes made all the frozen water crossings easy up high. We made good time. We took off the spikes when the snow gave way to mostly bare ground. That  made the last icy sections more exciting. Somehow we managed to stay on our feet.

At 3:00 pm we reached the car. Very few cars were left. It was a balmy 20 degrees. The warmest temperature of the day just over an hour before sunset. We did have our late lunch in the warm car. A temperature near zero is very rare west of the Cascade Crest. I like it that way. It was fun to get out in such unusual conditions. At least it was sunny all day long. Now I'm ready for more of our usual gray but not all that cold winter.

Ice From The Start
Lots Of Ice
Icicles Everywhere
Ice Rock
Icy Teeth
Branches Encased In Ice
Icy Trail
Still Green
Icy Creek
Ice In Creek
Snowy Steps
Icy Falls
Ice Globs
Big Trees
Close Up Ice
More White Steps
Frozen Twin Fall
The Other Fall
Twin Falls
Sunshine Across Valley
Nice Lighting
More Icicles
Ice Patterns
Solid Icy Trail
Lake 22 & Cliffs
Gwen On Boardwalk
Shade On Lake
Looming Icy Cliffs
Sunshine & Shade
Ice Cave
Gwen At Work
Icy Filaments
Crossing Talus Field
More Ice
Creek From Bridge
Gwen On Ice
Another Ice Glob
Flowing & Frozen
Really Icy Trail
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013