2015 Summer Journal

Run – Hiking to Alaska Lake

RUN – HIKING TO ALASKA LAKE

This post was supposed to go out on Friday, but adventure got in the way. Whoops!

I have a problem that runs in my family: the restless brain. A few times a month I’ll wake up earlier than Will and won’t be able to get back to sleep because my brain starts going and just won’t stop. This was the first of those days on the bus.

Getting up early to putz around the house is a little different when your house is all one room and less than 200 square feet. There’s no sneaking out of the room with Hilde in tow, no freedom once I get out of the bedroom – nope, in the bus, he can hear everything I do.

Knowing this, I tried to be as quiet as possible. Of course I managed to do exactly the opposite by dropping the lid of our stainless steel french press on the floor. Transitioning to bus life is a process, and every day we learn new things… Fortunately Will isn’t a grumpy morning person and was able to ignore all of my banging around!

Will eventually got up and we had a leisurely breakfast of sausage and eggs before getting ready to hit the trail. We were planning on run-hiking up the Gold Creek drainage to Alaska Lake, a ~13 mile out and back, so we packed as light as we could: food, water, warmies, rain jackets, first aid kit, and SPOT emergency device.

Hilde can always tell when we’re gearing up for adventure. She gets the zoomies the second the packs and shoes come out she gets the zoomies: racing around the bus, bouncing off the furniture, crashing into things. This was going to be her first time wearing her Kurgo Baxter Pack, and needless to say that she was STOKED! We couldn’t get on the trail fast enough.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Now that’s a happy dog!

The run up to Alaska was beautiful. We ran through fields of salmonberries and blueberries, passed under magnificent old growth trees, and crossed countless streams. It rained off and on but the temperature was nice and we weren’t chilly. Hilde was in heaven – sometimes she gets hot on long runs, so having the cloud cover and moisture made her day!

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Look at that foliage!

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

You almost can’t even see them!

The trail followed Gold Creek for about 5 miles before turning up another drainage for the last mile. We were expecting to be able to run the whole thing but the last mile really kicked our butts – 1200ft gained over a mile made for a steep trail! On top of that, it isn’t maintained by the forest service, so it was quite overgrown. Nonetheless, we had a great time scrambling our way up through the bushes.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Looking a little overgrown.

Finally reaching the lake felt like a big accomplishment – we’d worked hard for this view! Amazingly enough we had the whole place to ourselves.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

We commandeered this little campsite for our lunch spot. Here I am trying to dry out my soaking wet feet.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Hilde surveying her domain.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

The way back down was faster, but not easier: it’s always easier to go up steep rocks rather than down. Paired with thick overgrown vines and lots of moisture, the trail down was a bit treacherous. One thing I always love about out and back hikes is the diffent perspective you get. Hiking in we got to see the big walls in front of us, but hiking out we got a completely different view.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

One of the different views we got on the way down was a closer look at this stand of trees that had been knocked down. It didn’t look like there had been a fire or a logging operation, but it also didn’t look like an avalanche because none of the trees above them had been affected. As we got closer we noticed that the trees had broken and laid down uphill. We turned to look at the opposite side of the creek and sure enough, it was a huge avalanche chute. It looks like a massive avalanche tore down one side and splashed up onto the other with enough force to knock down 50 yards of big trees. Incredible!

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

View to the West: Down trees, pointing uphill. Very curious…

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

View to the East: Huge avalanche path!

I’ve been noticing that Hilde is seeming to “get” us more and more these days. She’s never been good at navigating boulder fields, but now that she’s almost 90lbs she is too big to be carried across. In this instance she was following my line when she got in a tough spot and tried to cut down onto a steeper section. I could see that it would be better for her to go above and told her so. She immediately stopped, reversed her course, and went up above me. Now, I know there’s no way she actually understood my sentence, but she did pick up the tone of my voice that said ‘stop doing that and start doing something else.’ I’m so proud of her!

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

We made it back to the parking lot in about five hours, soaking wet and tired, but loving our new life. Without the bus we would never have done this hike, because we would have shot right through Snoqualmie Pass on our way to a bigger destination. Life is good!

Before I go…

I don’t share a lot of outtakes on the blog (and believe me, there are some good ones) but I couldn’t help but share these two photos side by side. Sometimes, our dog looks like she belongs in the Alps, rescuing lost hikers with a barrel of whiskey around her neck…

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

And sometimes, she looks like a real life Looney Toon.

Outside Found Bus | Trail Running to Alaska Lake in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Such is life! 🙂

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