Alpine Lakes

Some might say that the hiking season is over, but such talk has no place in the Paul Pham School of Hiking After the Season is Over. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather this past weekend, Tanya and I backpacked out to Lake Kachess, near Easton, WA about 1.5 hours east on I-90. We drove out on Friday night, camped at Lake Easton State Park, and then started the hike proper on Saturday morning.

The first five miles of the trail followed the lakeshore with ups and downs around 2200-2400 feet and took us 2.5 hours. It ended at a beach with lots of dead trees and a scenic lookout which would be a great place to have a drunken party. However, this first leg is actually unnecessary because at the end is a new trailhead and a gravel road. You should all use this instead of the Kachess campsite, which is closed at this time of year anyway.

Then we followed Mineral Creek for another five miles, which ended at Park Lakes 4800 feet up. This elevation gain of 2400 feet tooks us about 5 hours because we were dead tired by this point. Due to me getting us lost, we actually hiked 14 miles that day. We camped at the lakes near some trees to shield us from the wind. On Sunday, we did a short 2-mile out-and-back to a viewpoint at 5400 feet to see Spectacle Lake from afar, perhaps imagining future hikes in a dreamy haze. Then we retraced our steps to arrive back at our Flexcar in 5.5 hours, well before sunset and well ready to go home to a hot shower. I would like to point out here that only your backpacking partner is willing to sit in a car with you when you smell like the ass end of a cow. Another happy adventure concluded, courting death at all times but spurning him in the end.

Tanya’s photos are here, and I feel obligated to point out the cat photo because it was adorable and the action shot of me falling to certain doom to show you how close we skirted to disaster.

Alpine Lakes Backpacking
Photoset at Flickr
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~ by Paul Pham on 3 October 2006.

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