Lake 22, Again

Lake 22, on the north flank of Mt. Pilchuk. Photos by Jon Ostrow

Lake 22, on the north flank of Mt. Pilchuk
Photos by Jon Ostrow

Lake 22 had been a family favorite for many, many years. This is the hike that the whole family loved, where we took out of town company and which we recommended to newbies looking for a starter hike. In the old days there were big bare spots on the lake shore, where we spread a tarp and shared lunch. We took off our shoes and waded into the cold water. Once we crashed through the under brush and circled the lake. When we crossed the rockfall at the far end of the lake, one of the most frightening experiences of our hiking days occurred: we were all crossing the rocks at our own pace. Don was ahead and higher up than the children and I were. He dislodged a rock and it began rolling down the slope, directly toward seven year old John. Don and I both yelled, but John was intent on picking his way across the rocks and didn’t hear us. We were horrified, too far from John to stop the rock and even if we had been next to him we probably couldn’t stop it. Suddenly the rock veered, and rolled in a different direction. Since then I never hear the words “Lake 22” without remembering those awful moments.

However, that didn’t prevent us from returning. We just didn’t circle the lake anymore. Over the years, the lake shore was restored with native plants and a fine boardwalk

Walkie-Talkies pose on the bridge at the outlet of Lake 22. Photos by Jon Ostrow

Walkie-Talkies pose on the bridge at the outlet of Lake 22
Photos by Jon Ostrow

extends partly around the lake.

This is what I wrote in my journal last year, September 25,2013, when my Walkie-Talkie hiking group went up:

“We have done this hike many times before, with kids, before I started this journal. The hike is off of the mountain loop highway beyond Granite Falls. Lake 22 is at an elevation of 2400 feet on the north side of Mt. Pilchuck. The hike is 5.4 miles RT with a 1350 foot elevation gain. The parking lot has been greatly enlarged since the old days, and the walk was lots harder than it used to be, but the old trees, protected as a research area, are stunning. The trail was fine in places, but otherwise very rocky with water running through it. ”

On July 2, 2014 I found it even more difficult than a year before—the trees are still stunning, but the trail is quite rocky and water still runs through much of it. Don and I were the last hikers of our group to return to the parking lot. We rested often, both going up and going down. All along the way, we were passed by younger hikers. Sadly, I admit that this is probably the last time I will ever visit Lake 22.

Don and Goldie resting on the trail to Lake 2. Photos by Jon Ostrow

Don and Goldie resting on the trail to Lake 22
Photos by Jon Ostrow

 

(Someone following my blog wrote that I should provide more pictures. You have no idea of how computer illiterate I am. It is a triumph of my elder self that I was able to insert photos into this post–whoever that anonymous person is, thank you for pushing me to a new level of skill, and I hope you enjoy the photos.)  

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