Extremely busy week at work and at home. All work and no play makes lemArts are very dull boy. Time to get out. Where to go? Needs to be somewhere new. Somewhere with distance. Somewhere more remote. Somewhere without crowds. Pull out enormous collection of maps late in the week and start scouting. Got it. Green Trails Maps #175. West Fork Foss River and Lakes. Starting from Forest Road 6835 south of Hwy 2 just east of Skykomish, WA. Trail is roughly 14 miles round trip from trailhead to Big Heart Lake. Several thousand feet of climbing. On the way it passes Trout Lake, Lake Malachite, Copper Lake, and Little Heart Lake.
Two notes. (1) My hiking buddy is vacationing in Iceland right now so I'm on my own. (2) My in-laws are in town and I have to be at Anthony's in Edmonds at 5:15 PM for dinner, which means I need to be on the trail early if I have any chance of doing all 14 miles.
5:00 AM --> Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
5:09 AM --> Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Why is the snooze 9 minutes, anyway? 10 seem better to me.
5:18 AM --> Alarm goes off. Within a few minutes I'm on the road. I almost kill 2 rabbits crossing the street in front of me before I'm even out of my neighborhood. That's all the wildlife I'll see for the rest of the day.
5:54 AM --> I'm headed east on Hwy 2. My car tells me it's 47 deg F outside. It's foggy as hell. Brrrrrr.
6:50 AM --> That was a longer drive than I expected. The forest road passes through a creek that has been conveniently paved. Later in the day (on the way out) I parked my car in the middle of the creek and soaked my sore bare feet in the ice cold water. I find the trail head with a few cars already there. I'd later find out that there are many places to camp at the various lakes and along the trail, hence the cars. I'd see more over-nighters, I think, than day-hikers. The trail head is at 1600 feet elevation.
6:59 AM --> I'm on the trail. It will be 1.5 miles and 500 feet of climbing to Trout Lake at 2100 ft. This section of the trail is a breeze. It mostly follows the stream and has lots of big trees and early views. There is a very nice new bridge to get you to the other side of the stream. I'm moving slow because my fingers are freezing.
7:54 AM --> I arrive at Trout Lake. My time is pretty pathetic but I did spend a lot of time gawking and taking pictures. I find that some lovely wilderness citizens have set up camp in an area specified for day use, so I can't get any good pictures of the lake unless I go into their camp area. I decide to be creepy in an entirely different way and take a picture of their sins. I'll get the lake pictures on the way down.
7:55 AM --> I'm on the trail headed up the hill. The trail is a bit overgrown and there is morning dew on all the plants. I'm getting wet. Pretty soon I get a view of Trout Lake from above. There are more big trees. The trail is getting kind of steep.
8:41 AM --> I lied earlier about the rabbits. They weren't the only wildlife I saw. Check out the fifth picture below. Fantastic. Later I try to take some artsy flower shots but I don't know what I'm doing with this camera.
8:58 AM --> I'm still climbing and it's steeper than before, but now I'm out of the shade and the sun is bearing down on me. My hands are no longer freezing. There is a really amazing waterfall way up above me. I know that I'll have to climb all the way above it. Seems like a long way.
9:36 AM --> I finish climbing that whole long way I was thinking about just 38 minutes ago. I'm pretty impressed with myself. I've climbed 1800 feet in 2 miles since leaving Trout Lake. There is a trail junction. Go straight to continue on to Copper Lake. Turn right to make a short hike up to Lake Malachite. The sign is hard to read. I take a picture. Still hard to read. I zoom in and take another picture. Still hard to read.
9:45 AM --> I'm at Lake Malachite. I was 0.1 miles and 200 feet of climbing up to the lake. It was actually pretty steep but it was worth it. I am alone at the lake. It's pretty.
10:03 AM --> I'm back on the trail and headed for Copper Lake. Copper is actually lower than Malachite by about 130 feet in elevation. This leg of the trip is short and easy. It also has really fun bonus boulder hopping at the outflow stream from Copper Lake.
10:11 AM --> I'm at the base of Copper Lake. I told you it was short and easy. This lake is also pretty.
10:27 AM --> I've hiked a considerable distance around the east side of the lake. The trail around the lake is probably about a mile (the lake is big). It also has several ups and downs that go from right at lake level to probably 50 feet above to right back down to lake level. I've seen several groups of campers. I've also gotten views from a different angle. I really like this lake. Did I mention that it's pretty? I wish that I had an inflatable rowboat but I don't.
10:38 AM --> The trail is heading away from Copper Lake up towards Little Heart Lake at 4200 feet (about 240 feet above Copper). The trail is mostly nice and easy and passes through some meadows.
10:44 AM --> There is a big field of broken boulders, mostly flat, and it takes me a minute to figure out which way to go over them. On other other side I see stairs. Just up those stairs I'll find Little Heart Lake.
10:49 AM --> I'm at Little Heart Lake. I've gone 1.5 miles from the barely legible Copper/Malachite trail junction sign, 2.5 miles from Trout Lake, and 5.0 miles from my car. I've climbed 2600 feet by start to end elevation, but definitely a bit more than that with ups and downs (I'll say closer to 3000 feet because it makes me feel pretty awesome to do so). I'm hungry.
10:52 AM --> I begin to eat. I will have a Gatorade packet in my water, an orange, most of a bag of beef jerky, and literally thousands of delicious Chips Ahoy cookies. That's an exaggeration. I only had eight (8) delicious Chips Ahoy cookies in my pack (but you better believe I ate every one of them). I also take pictures of Little Heart Lake which is pretty but lacks great picture taking spots. Only after I'm done eating do I notice what would have been a fantastic lunch rock in the middle of the outflow stream. Other hikers show up and take it. I try hide my jealousy.
11:16 AM --> I head for home. As much as I want to go up to Big Heart Lake today, I know somewhere (Edmonds, WA, actually) there is family seafood extravaganza in my future and my wife will be upset if I'm not there (and of course I want to make her happy). Were I to head up to Big Heart today, it would add another 700 feet of climbing and almost 4 additional round trip miles to the 10 round trip miles I'm already committed to. There is no way I can get to Big Heart and get home in time. Sadly, it will have to wait for another day.
11:53 AM --> I'm back at the base of Copper Lake. I take a self portrait to prove that it was really me, lemArts. I'm the guy in the orange shirt. Looks legit to me so I think we're all done here. Almost.
12:25 PM --> Holy moly the sun is hot now. I pass people that are going up and they look hot. I know I'm hot. It's hot. I'm glad they are the ones going up and not me.
1:10 PM --> I'm back at Trout Lake and thankfully the day use squatters have departed. I get the photo I wanted earlier but it's just kind of meh. The lake is just okay. I'm losing steam now, just like this blog post. A little while later I was at the car. Ranger was writing tickets. Bring your Forest Pass. The end.