Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lake Colchuck Hike

 While hiking up to Eight Mile Lake, I met a man named Steve on my way back down the mountain. He told me that his favorite local hike was Lake Colchuck. I later looked it up in my hiking book and saw that it was a long, fairly steep hike. I realized I'd need most or all of a day for hiking it and recovering from it. I also learned from my friend Manda, who'd taken the hike in July, that the trail is exposed to a lot of sun. I figured I'd wait for an overcast day so I wouldn't boil in the sun while climbing uphill. Little did I know that Leavenworth gets very few cloudy days...

Since we only had 1 cloudy day during all of my time in Leavenworth, and I had too much going on to hike it that day, I ended up having to take this hike on a sunny day. I waited for another cloudy day until one of my last days out there, but finally gave up and figured I should start the hike in the morning before the sun could do too much damage. I woke up early and hit the trail at about 7:30am.

This view greeted me a bit before I reached the lake. These beautiful granite slabs reminded me of our trip to Yosemite National Park. After seeing this view, I was glad I ended up coming on a nice day

The views wouldn't have been as beautiful without the blue sky, and hitting the trail early ended up working out really well for me. The sun didn't have a chance to shine on me until around 10:30am, and I was already on my way back down the mountain by then. I would have been dying if I'd been trying to do those brutal uphill stretches with little to no shade to protect me from the heat.

The views at the lake were gorgeous, but the problem I had was that I was too close to get a good shot. I would have needed a much nicer camera to fully capture the view I had in front of me. You'll have to use your imagination to put these two shots together. It was a lovely view to look at, but not from the lens of a cheap camera.

This was the best pic I could get of both the lake and the mountains. The lake was a rich, shimmering turquoise color. I wish I'd had an inflatable raft to take out on it.

I hadn't known there would be a waterfall here. That was a nice surprise! The waterfall book I use doesn't mention this falls, but I found a reference to it when I looked at the computer companion website (http://www.mymaps.com/nwfalls/nc/nc6.htm). He says access to Colchuck Falls is uncertain. I found it quite easily. It can be seen from the trail and only requires a short bushwack.

 I also saw this small falls from the trail. Overall this is a great hike with a stunning lake, beautiful mountains, impressive granite slabs, and even a couple of pretty waterfalls. I highly recommend it!

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