Friday 22 June 2012

Hike Week! Mt. Si and Lake Serene awesome!

Hike week was so popular, they want to go again in July! We all loved it! Mt. Si was our "challenge day hike", beautiful sunny weather, we hit this right on!! 180+ degree views, beyond Seattle, Snoqualmie Valley and Mt. Rainier. Five women family members and a dog started at 9:30 AM up and reached the summit at 11:30AM. No words can explain how beautiful the entire experience was. Thursday, we hiked Lake Serene, which arguably could be as much challenge as Mt. Si! The Lake Serene hike which includes Bridal Veil Falls is awesome.

On top Mt. daughter Holly and I! We organized hike week and made it fun!

Mt. Si
Roundtrip 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain 3150 ft
Highest Point 3900 ft

Mount Si should be experienced at least once by every hiker. In fact, a significant number of Puget Sound residents do just one hike per year, and these annual hikers almost invariably turn to Mount Si every time. In the early spring, mountain-loving backpackers and climbers use the trail as a tune-up for the coming season. Others come because the trail is one of few that becomes snow-free early in the year. Land managers estimate that Si draws between thirty thousand and fifty thousand visitors a year, making it the most heavily used trail in the state. As a result, on any sunny summer weekend the trail will be crowded--almost to the point of having to take a number and get in line. Really, it's not that bad, and the steep trail soon separates the serious hiker from the casual mall walker. And Si's payoff is incredible: views of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, the Puget Sound basin, and far beyond. We were hiking on Wednesday, no too many hikers.

From the broad parking lot, the trail climbs moderately for 1 mile to the first views of the long hike. Here, at around 1600 feet, you'll find wonderful views from atop a rocky bluff on the side of the mountain. Hikers short on time and stamina could turn around here for a modest 2-mile outing.

Holly, Allie, Amy and Sarah! At the start of the trail!

As you near the 1.8-mile mark, you'll sweep alongside a small brook, with grassy banks on which to rest. This is Snag Flat--the site of an old burn, as evidenced by the blackened scars on the trunks of many of the old Douglas-firs in the area.

The trail then pushes on, never wavering from its steep ascent, until you finally crest the last slope and step out into the wildflower-filled meadow at the summit, or rather, the summit basin. The true summit of Si is atop the big rock "haystack" that towers over the edge of the meadow. The haystack does sport a scramble path to its summit, but the route is tricky, with incredible exposure (one slip and you'll plummet hundreds--thousands?--of feet). It's best not to attempt the Haystack, especially considering the added danger of other people kicking loose rock down, creating deadly missiles from above. Besides, the views atop the rock are no better than those you'll enjoy from the meadows at its base. 

Our lunch spot!

We are family!! My two nieces, my daughter, my daughter-in-law and I.

Driving Directions: From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn left (north) over the freeway and drive 0.5 mile to North Bend Way. Turn left (west), and in 0.25 mile turn right (north) on Mount Si Road. The large trailhead parking lot is on the left, 2.5 miles down the road. You will need a

Lake Serene-Eleven hikers and three dogs hiked on the final day! Allie (my niece), her daughter's, Cierra and Cirena and her son Drake; Sarah(my niece) and her daughter, Victoria and son's, Hunter and Kelton; Sweet One (Amy), Holly and me! Pups included Emma, Penelope and Bandit.

 Final hike! Lake Serene!

 Towering and formidable, Mount Index is perhaps the most awesome and fiercest sight and site along US 2. But softening its stark appearance is Bridal Veil Falls. Emanating from beneath the mountain's austere crags, the tiered and tumbling cataract drapes over granite slabs. To really appreciate this plummeting waterway, however, you'll need to leave your vehicle and hit the trail. Make sure to have your NW trail pass (details in driving directions) And in your journey, discover a secret - there's a beautiful lake perched beneath those rugged spires feeding those falls.

Lake Serene

Start by following an old road lined with mossy maples and alders. Cross a series of minor tributaries. Pretty in their own right, especially after a storm, these streaming streams are also eroding away chunks of tread. Next, along a thickly forested slope, the trail gradually ascends. At 1.7 miles, just after leaving the old roadbed, come to a signed junction (elev. 1200 ft.). The trail left continues on, heading to "secret" Lake Serene tucked in a deep basin beneath the spires of Mount Index.

For Bridal Veil Falls, head right. The falls is 0.5 mile away. Just follow the roar, using a series of short switchbacks and stairways that steeply climb toward the tumult. Cross several side creeks and expect to get your feet wet. Be sure to pause for a moment or two to look back at the Skykomish Valley spread below. One last grunt and reach the first of two waterfall viewing platforms.

Beautiful Falls, my camera, just couldn't capture this magnificent sight.

Except for late summer, when the falls trickle more than pummel, the roar is pretty deafening at this point. Don your rain parka and set out on a drenched boardwalk to embrace the cascade's full force and beauty. Bridal veil? From this proximity, it's more like a bridal shower. Literally soak up the falls beauty. When you've had enough, retreat to the trail junction and make a decision. Back to your rig, or up to Lake Serene?

Serene usually wins, so carry on. Continue on the main trail, dropping a little into a damp ravine. Cross Bridal Veil Creek on a well-built bridge, and then begin climbing. On solid tread that occasionally utilizes stone steps and rock cribbing, the trail steeply ascends. A long sweep east - then a long sweep west - the way works under, over, and around cliffs, gaining 1300 feet in about 1.5 miles. Take in fine views of the valley below as well as out to Ragged Ridge and other peaks of the newly minted Wild Sky Wilderness.Incredible beauty, one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever been on, but trust me when I say, your muscles will be screaming. Not many hikes have these many stairs. This hike should be called Stairmaster trail. After you see the last fall,the incline begins with hundreds of stairs which makes it a great thigh burning workout. All in all a amazing day hike. I highly recommend it for a sunny day.

These steps are mild, most are tall and thigh screamers!!

And Lake Serene? It lies just a short distance ahead tucked in a tight basin beneath the ramparts and parapets of fortress Index. Stare straight up those 3000-vertical-foot stark walls. Hardly serene, it's more like awe-inspiring. But when the basin is calm, those imposing rock faces delicately reflect in the lake's surface. Now, that's serene and an unbelievably beautiful sight.

Kelton and Holly enjoying the peaceful view of Lake Serene and their yummy lunch!

Lunch time!

*I took over 100 pictures on this hike, take your camera, it is in my opinion the most beautiful waterfall in Washington, at this time of year.

Driving Directions: From Everett, follow US 2 east to the hamlet of Gold Bar. In Gold bar stop at the Gold Bar market or the Expresso shop across the street from the market and buy your NW Recreation day pass ($5.00). Continue on US 2 for 7 more miles to just before it crosses the Skykomish River (near milepost 35), and turn right onto Mount Index Road. Proceed on this dirt road 0.4 mile, turning right on the spur road signed "Lake Serene Trail 1068." The trailhead and large parking area are 500 feet farther (elev. 600 ft.). Privy available. There is a small area about 1/4 mile before you get to the main lot, that you could park if you don't have a day pass. But, that area can hold maybe 4 cars. When we arrived in the main lot at 9:45 AM on Thursday, there were two other cars, but as we were putting our boots on, many more came pouring in. When we arrived back from our hike, it was full.

My muscles are a little sore and my body a little lethargic, but, I weigh a little less, lost a few inches and am without question feeling healthier than last Saturday!!

 Final Hike Week Stats-

 6 Day totals:
46.6 miles
11,670 elevation gain

Now off to Lake Chelan today, for the Family vacation, we have been doing for 28 years!! My kids grew up going, every June when they were out of school! We have over 20 family members going this year! I will be covering "What to do in lake Chelan" next week, and a few recipes!!

Have a Fabulous weekend! YOU ROCK! LOVE THIS LIFE!! Cheers! JJ

A Trillium! Picking a trillium seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year. A plant takes many years to recover. For this reason in Michigan, Minnesota and New York, it is illegal to pick and/or transplant trilliums from public lands without a permit from the State. On the Lake Serene hike, I saw hundreds along side the trail. I love this flower, and always have. When in Middle School, I made a herbarium with over 100 wild flowers, my favorite was the Trillium.

1 comment:

  1. Love these pictures, thanks for sharing.


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