Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuck and Robin Lakes

Kate reminded me I basically had 4 days off over Labor Day weekend, so I decided to do an overnight hike. I ended up going to Tuck and Robin Lakes.

I parked at the trailhead, which was full although only two trail start there. I have no idea where all those people were. I didn't start until 2:00pm because it was very important to go to the Goodwill sale first. It wasn't too hard to find, but the last 14 miles were on a terrible forrest road filled with potholes and rocks. Those last 14 miles took me over 1 1/2 hours.

It starts on the trail for Deception Pass and is pretty flat past Lake Hyas. I only saw a few people. Then, it goes up switchbacks for a couple of miles until you hit the fork for Tuck and Robin Lakes. And then it climbs. It's pretty much straight up, but that means the views get good really fast. Cathedral Rock, Mt. Daniel covered in snow and a glacier with lots of waterfalls streaming down. Supposedly, Mt. Ranier should be visible but I never saw it. There were so distant clouds in that direction though.

I got to Tuck Lake just before 5pm, and decided I should swim. It was quite frigid. As in, I swam to an island maybe 25m away, and my butt was numb by the time I got there. I warmed up and walked around the rocks once, but then swam back because I knew I had at least an hour left once I found the trail. It actually was easier than I thought, because I knew to keep Tuck Pot on my right and the lake on my left, and then I started seeing cairns. Thank goodness for those cairns. Again, it just climbed straight up. This part was even steeper. It's only a mile, but I definitely used my hands a lot, especially with a backpack. At one point I was following a path and realized I hadn't seen a cairn in a couple minutes (there should always be one in sight.) I realized I must be on a mountain goat trail, which didn't worry e that much because I know they go up to the lakes too. But then I saw the real trail right below. I had to do some legit rock climbing. It was only sideways, but I had to get to where the slope caught up to me so it started pretty high. Then I trampled a bunch of vegetation and probably caused years of damage side stepping on the precarious slope until I was on the just as precarious, but more sturdy, trail. The last push to the top is just on granite with cairns to lead you. The view was magnificent, although there were some clouds moving fast. I finally made it to the lakes, and found a spot to camp!

I ate dinner on the ridge between the lakes, and saw another tent across the small lake. A mountain goat passed the two people sitting on the rocks next to the tent, and then checked out my camp. He looked at me a few times. Apparently they like to lick where people have I made sure to do that far away from my tent. The clouds moved in fast and soon I was engulfed, which meant I missed the sunset too.

The next morning I was still deep in the depths of a cloud, so I stayed in my tent a while. I also watched a couple goats playing and a mama and her kid, who came right up to me.
Eventually I started climbing up the ridge. I wasn't sure how worth it it would be, but it seemed like the higher I climbed, the clearer it got. I was above the clouds for a while, and then the sun came out and they cleared. The view was amazing! I got to the top and could see over the other side too, but I couldn't figure out how to get to Granite Mountain and it was getting late so I just went down.

I packed up and started down, and it took me almost as long as coming up because it was so steep. It was amazing! I hope to be able to do more overnight trips!

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