Lake 22

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow
-Emily Brontë

The day after Thanksgiving my friend and I took a hike to Lake 22. This was the first time we hiked to the Alpine Lakes so late in the season and it was truly a winter wonderland.

We started the hike in a typical Pacific Northwest rain forest, crossed wetland and several puncheon bridges, which were super icy and slippery. There were waterfalls and icicles along the way. It is true that you are never far from water on this trail. The last quarter of a mile descend to the lake, with snow on trail packed down by previous hikers was tricky. I am not sure microspike would work on the rocky surface, but yaktrax definitely helps. I didn’t bring either, talk about being unprepared. I managed by treading on powder snow along the side and did my best to avoid black(icy) rocks and tree roots.

It was worth it. The lake was mostly frozen. At this time of the year, the sun never rises high enough to clear the ridge, leaving the lake in a strange twilight on even the brightest days.

Walking along the lake we encountered some amazing ice/snow formations. I couldn’t stop snapping photos with my phone……

hoarfrost (n) – ice crystals from freezing water vapor

On clear, cold mornings, plants, fences, and even the surface of the snow can be covered in ice crystals, called hoarfrost. Hoarfrost is created when the air temperature cools enough for water vapor in the air to condense directly into ice. Hoarfrost is a sign of cold nights, but the reward is a sparkling morning.

My fingertips froze after just a couple of minutes of cold exposure. I need better gloves. We also need to remind ourselves that the days are short this time of the year. Within the forest, it got dark around 3:30PM.

On our way back, we stopped by Everett for Lanzhou beef noodle soup, perfect after a cold day hike.

Today it’s back to the rainy Seattle weather. Hopefully that means snow in the mountains. For next time the sun pops up, we will get our snowshoes ready. I love winter.

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