Last year I called the Pacific Crest Trail home for six glorious months. I’ve wanted to return to the trail many times since then but, alas, circumstances have prevented it. This past weekend I finally got my chance. On Saturday I planned a trip to Mirror Lake along the PCT starting from the Windy Pass Trailhead, which is a relatively easy 6-mile jaunt roundtrip with only 1000 feet of elevation gain. I first hiked this trail 3 years ago when I was only dreaming of hiking the PCT. It seemed like a fitting way to make my homecoming.
This weekend, I hiked to Talapus Lake with my 3-year-old nephew Ben, my brother Jonathan and my sister-in-law Sarabeth. Talapus is one of many stunning lakes that gives the Alpine Lakes Wilderness its name. The lake is accessible by a short and gently-sloped path – which makes it a very popular trail for hikers of all ages and abilities. The trail became increasingly crowded the longer we stayed but I found it to be more manageable than some of the other more popular Seattle-area trails.
Granite Mountain has been on my bucket list for a long time. Located just west of Snoqualmie Pass, the mountain is famed for amazing 360-degree views of Mt. Rainier to the south and Mt. Baker to the north. It’s also one of the few hikes in the area to feature a lookout tower at the summit. The Granite Mountain trail is off-limits most of the year due to extreme avalanche danger. Now that summer has arrived, the snow has finally melted out – except for the last mile or so which crosses a snowfield.