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Posts Tagged ‘Granite Falls’

Heather Lake

Heather Lake, situated below Mt. Pilchuck, along Mountain Loop highway, is one of my favorite hikes…and not just because it is easy…well, ok, maybe in part, but that’s not the only reason I enjoy this hike.   It’s about a 4 mile hike, round trip, and it does have some elevation gain, and no, I don’t remember the exact gain (like I have the brain power to remember elevation gain!), I just remember feeling a little relieved every time I make it to the lake.  In order to fully experience Heather Lake, I suggest hiking it once in early spring, then again during the summer.  Why?  Well, certainly the lush foliage and forestry and trickling waterfalls, makes this hike memorable, but during early spring (maybe winter) the lake is silhouetted in snow and ice – which is gorgeous, and makes the hike well worth the trek.  During the summer, you have the dense foliage to protect you from the heat, and you can carry along a change of clothes and/or swimsuit to go swimming and even a fishing pool for the lake. 

I did not realize until one of the last times I went hiking to Heather Lake that you can completely walk around the exterior of the lake and find a boulder-rimmed swimming hole along the backside – you can spend the entire day swimming and sunbathing!  What’s more, it is a secluded area (So, haha, no one but my unfortunate friends can see me in the full glory of my bathing suit!!!), which makes it the perfect place to relax undisturbed for the day.  My husband keeps meaning to bring his fishing gear with him, since you actually can legally fish in the lake, and apparently it is stocked, but alas, he hasn’t managed the feat of carrying his beer and his fishing gear up the whole path.  For some unknown reason, beer keeps mysteriously winning out.  BTW…who brings BEER HIKING…another tangent, and one, I suppose, I’ll discuss at a later date, in a chair, paying some over-priced-look-at-me-I’m-perfect head shrink…not that that bothers me.

Anywho,  Heather Lake does have some elevation gain, but the lake makes it well worth the climb…I used to try to make it up there about twice a year, so this upcoming spring and summer I intend to follow up on that tradition.  I’ll have to look through old photos to see if I can dig up some of the lake. 

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Ice CavesI love hiking…hope I can hike more soon!!! The last hike I went on was a few weeks ago when I explored the ice caves near Granite Falls, WA. My husband, and my two young sons, went along.  We felt that we could finally try to bring out kids along since the hike is fairly short – probably about a mile each way.  We had a blast! It was the first hike my children have ever completed with me. I was so proud of my kiddos! They had such a great time; my older son, Lucas, did not want to leave the ice. He eventually slipped and ended up with a mud-drenched bottom. Oh well, he didn’t seem to mind!

Well, it was a little more difficult getting to the ice caves this year than in years past due to some flooding over the last couple years.  You cautiously drive on Mountain Loop Hwy to an area that has been washed out, but now there is a gravelly and wood-covered one-lane road to cross this particular obstacle.  We managed to get to the well-maintained parking lot and started wandering along the trail with one child in our ever-so-helpful kiddie pack, and the other stumbling along the path.   We eventually came to a point where you have to cross a fallen log to get past the river, where previously there had been a wonderful wooden bridge.  I wasn’t sure if we should venture across, but we were encouraged by other hikers coming back that it is, in fact, safe.  I still was not comfortable crossing with my sons.  It ended up being a somewhat difficult process because my older son, Lucas, was not that sturdy on his feet, but in the end, he managed to cross with my help.

We had fun hiking through the wooded trail and seeing the little waterfalls along the way.  Eventually, we came to an open and somewhat treeless area and were presented with the view of the ice caves.  My children were so excited to see the ice caves!  Ok, maybe my husband and I were more excited, but we were definitely excited that we managed the hike with our children!  We sat down to a lunch of pb&js and enjoyed the view of the caves.

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