Lake Twenty-Two is very similar to Heather Lake, which makes perfect sense because they're right next to each other and the trailheads are even on the same side. So I was glad to be going up with poles, which I didn't have back at Heather Lake. There were even more water crossings yesterday, and they were so much easier to get across. But first, there were a couple of these weird bridges I really didn't like.
The trail starts off innocently enough, but there wasn't much more easy stuff like this.
Thankfully the bridges are nicer higher up, and there are tons of sections of wood steps. I'm sure I've already said it, but I'd love to how these get built. It's hard enough to get oneself up these trails.
One thing this trail has that Heather Lake doesn't is lots of big waterfalls. Pretty neat.
There's that point when you emerge from the mountain's shadow for a bit and everything becomes so vibrant.
Here's where the switchbacks come and you climb a zigzag higher and higher. It's a little frustrating that the GPS isn't detailed enough to really show just how many turns there are. The nice thing is that the view gets incrementally better.
And since we're in Washington, there are tons of huge trees and muhsrooms.
Lake Twenty-two's trail turned out to be much more difficult than Heather Lake's, due to the huge section of sharp boulders you have to go over. You wouldn't look at this and think it's the trail, but it is. And I think this covers six or eight switchbacks, too. At least some of the rocks are interesting.
At one point, I looked down and noticed the rubber tip was missing from one of my poles, revealing the fancy carbide tip I didn't think mine came with. Instant upgrade! It was pretty difficult to get the other tip off, but I got to spend the rest of the hike getting used to the change.
I wish I would have gotten an even earlier start heading out, but it's hard to rush on a day off, and let's face it, you have to listen to your body if you're stepping outside of your normal routine. I still managed to be just the second car to arrive, and I was hoping that by taking a few minutes to eat a banana, stretch, visit the restroom, and gear up, that the other party would hurry up and head out. But as it turns out, they were two quite flamboyant guys, and they were posing for photos and smoking cigarettes, so I ended up being first up the trail. And I gotta say, being on the otherwise-pristine mountain makes a cigarette smell that much grosser. Starting out, I saw them down below every once in a while, but eventually I was convinced that they turned back. One of my poles collapsed, and it took me a while to fix it, and that's when I saw them again. I wanted to be first, and got a pretty good second wind.
There was a little bit of snow, but nowhere near as much as I saw at Heather Lake. One of the scarier parts of the hike was walking over the snow onto the boardwalk, and I actually fell through the snow on the way out. That boardwalk might go all the way around the lake! It was completely snowed over for about half the length around and I saw that people had walked on it, but I wasn't in the mood to try.
The lake is completely gorgeous and I'm glad it was a clear day so I could see it.
The guys caught up at the lake and sat down to have their lunch. I didn't stay very long because I always like to get the whole thing done and get home and shower, but I think for longer ones it's time to start bringing something to eat. I had a granola bar and an apple waiting in the car and it would have been nice to have something sooner. I don't really want a huge backpack like I see people hiking with, but maybe a water pack with more storage than mine is in order. The pocket is really only big enough to hold keys. I suppose a little more food could fit inside next to the bladder.
While the walk up was tough because of the climb, going down was a lot more nerve wracking. It's just hard to look at something like this and not picture myself tumbling down the mountain.
This is where the trekking poles really help, though. On the way down from Heather Lake, I kept having to come down with all my weight onto my right foot and worried about my ankle the whole time. By putting the poles down first, I can lower myself down more slowly so there's not that crash. They're kind of annoying to carry sometimes, especially when climbing over or under a fallen tree, but it's still totally worth it. I'd say about a third of the hikers I saw yesterday were using them.
4.94 miles in 3:59, 10,616 steps, 1,350ft gain
I was the first to make it all the way up and the second to make it down. The third person I saw, a guy who was running up, made it to the top and was the only one to overtake me the whole day. It was a little scary watching him run down, jumping from rock to rock without even slowing down. After him, it was a pretty steady stream of people and dogs heading up. Several asked how much further they had to go, and one woman asked about the poles. It was so nice to get to the bottom.
I left the dashcam on the whole time I drove, but there's no way I was going to process almost three hours worth of driving, so here's the last part. I ended up on a residential street because I was trying to get home from memory and took a wrong turn and had to turn around.
This post is pretty photo-heavy, but there are still a few more pictures in the album. I'm surprised I got so many with how awkward it is to get and use the phone while also handling the poles.