Elementary my dear Watson

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.

Thanks for looking

whole gallery here



Phil's maternity picture, he's due any day now!




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Reader Comments (8)

This is AWESOME!!!! What a great day to shoot pictures. I was loving the whole adventure.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rush

Nice photo set. However, I've got to say, after reading your story, that people like you are a big reason why my girlfriend has a job as a dispatcher at North Cascades Nat'l Park. Trips like this one, taken on by parties that are unprepared/underequipped lead to search and rescue operations, which happen more often than many realize.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterk.rollin

totally understandable, always appreciative of the people looking out for everyone wanting to get out in the mountains! I can assure you though, that had any of us felt unprepared enough that it would be a danger to any of us involved we would not have embarked at all. We made sure everyone had proper clothing and emergency equipment, that we all knew the map and the landmarks for the exit route, and on a clear night the stars were out to help navigate. We let the loner hikers we came across know our route as well and ended up being able to find the trail on the way out the next morning. Apologies for not including this, because you are right, I didn't mean to glorify the idea of being unprepared

July 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterRhys

As one of the members of this particular backpack trip, I would like to wholeheartedly echo Rhys' response to you, k.rollin. Happy hiking (and safe hiking)!

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Rhys....these pictures are amazing! Glad you were able to hike safely in and out as well as see such glorious sights in God's country!!! Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures, these will be memories to cherish for a lifetime. Brian is going on over 25 years of hiking so he will appreciate all of this, fun times!!!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan W

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