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Trip Report

Tuck and Robin Lakes

Snoqualmie Region

Trip Report By

WTA Member


Hiked Jul 16, 2009

Type of Hike

Multi-night backpack
And I thought my trip up to Tuck and Robin lakes a few years ago was great, this one was even more awesome! Absolutely perfect weather, reasonable bug levels, goats everywhere, and great company. With a rare amount of time off Beth joined me for a three day trip. We left town early and set off down the trail around 9:30. The Scatter creek ford was fairly shallow and no problem for my Outback. Several lower clearance cars were also parked on the drive out. As we set out a team of six heavily laden WTA mules and horses walked through. Each mule carried two very beefy wooden posts for building new puncheon near Hyas lake. Turns out it was in preparation for a WTA volunteer vacation. They'd been working all week to bring the lumber in. We passed them by and continued on to the lakes. Already it was very warm. We made good time to Tuck lake, passing two very large groups from an adventure company hiking out. After a break at Tuck we tackled the rest of the trail upwards. Many of the cairns were knocked down so we had a few small stops and starts finding the best path but not too much difficulty. There were two small snow slopes to cross, no need for ice axes. We rolled into Robin lakes around 3:15 and were surprised to see a lot of floating ice on the water! It sure added to the beauty of the place. Even better - no tents around! We strolled through, met the first goat welcoming committee, and claimed the best campsite (in my opinion anyway) on the rise between the two lakes. Now to the business of the day: relaxing. We lounged around the rest of the day, had a contest to see who could keep their feet in the water the longest (I think Beth won with 15 seconds to my 10), watched goats, and just took it easy. I brought another PackItGourmet meal, this time chicken and dumplings, which turned out fantastic. Add in two cans of Fat Tire and it was an all around awesome meal. All we needed was a deck of cards. Sunset was pretty but muted. We turned in early, both tired from hard work weeks. Temperatures were perfect for sleeping: I'd say mid 40s. The only cold came from breezes off the partially frozen upper lake. It was light by 5:30 so we rolled out of bed early. Another PackItGourmet meal of pancakes and syrup hit the spot. We loaded up on water, sunscreen, bug juice, and headed out for Granite Mountain. The trail up to the ridge was easy to follow. One group left the route and crossed side-slope on snow to the saddle. This would require an ice-axe so we continued on to the top and scrambled down easy but fairly steep rock to cross at the saddle, no axe needed. From there another boot path took us up to Granite. The bugs up here were surprisingly bad but we had no breeze. Views were stellar at least. We opted to descend east on the snow below the summit and check out the partially frozen little lakes below. The snow was steep near the top but soft enough with a good run out we felt comfortable with just poles. Several hundred feet more of scrambling down granite slabs took us to the water. Very pretty place! I'd hoped to make a loop coming up the slabs at the highpoint to the north (lets call it Marian peak, keeping with the Friar Tuck / Robin Hood themed names) but this clearly wouldn't work. We continued north around the ponds and circled back west around the backside, coming up some shallow snow slopes and easy goat trails to regain the ridge. Great views up here down to Robin lakes! Some more wandering took us further north along the ridge to a partially melted little tarn and nice views down to Granite Potholes, Lake Phoebe, and Lake Leland. There was still a lot of snow around Granite Potholes and climbing down to them may require an ice axe. More cross country took us back west and up along the ridge to Trico. We searched both summits (I forget which is the true summit) but couldn't find the register this time. Views were still awesome, much better than my last trip. We were both running very low on water and fading fast from the heat of the sun. Without a breeze my thermometer read 70 - 80 degrees the whole time. We found the main boot path and followed this back to our camp for more relaxing and goat watching. Around 6 a few backpackers arrived, pitching camp at the far end of lower Robin. One guy dropped down to the water, we assumed to filter water, but instead stripped down and dove in! He sure didn't stay in long. An hour later we saw a few silhouettes with backpacks appear on the ridge. Then a few more. Then more. And more! 10 people in total! The milled around for awhile then descended to pick camp on the grass across the water from us. It was a group of teenage boys and two adults. They proved to be both very entertaining and obnoxious at the same time. Some pitched their tents and disappeared but a few others seemed intent on harassing the goats, one even pulling a few karate poses and tossing a rock. Eventually they settled on trundling large rocks down into the cold water. I'm sure all of this was hilarious in the minds of teenagers. Sunset was absolutely awesome friday night! Incredible colors and perfect reflections on the still water. For whatever reason the goats all abandoned us. We counted 21 unique goats thursday night but only a handfull friday, all hanging around the teenagers. There was one goat in particular we were looking for, a very small kid with an injured back leg we nick-named Gimpy. Earlier in the day we'd seen him fall down some rocks to land in the lake, probably due to hopping on 3 legs. No idea how he was injured in the first place. With our food secured we turned in for another nice night of sleep. Temperatures were pleasant and no wind meant wide-open sides of the Tarptent. We were again up early for breakfast. The small group of backpackers headed out early, circling around Robin onto the ridge. I assume they were doing the traverse out to Paddy-Go-Easy. On todays menu was French toast courtesy of PackItGourmet. Very tasty and sweet but messy to prepare. We cleaned up and left camp around 10, keeping a slow pace to savor the views. Unfortunately around the outlet of lower Robin a less savory smell was found: dead goat. We found one dead goat on a rock that appeared very recently deceased, no more than a day. We never saw the other thankfully. The descending group of kids thursday told us about this one and they all thought it was cool though. Dropping back to Tuck lake a few dayhikers were on their way in, two with an older black lab having some trouble with the scramble. Down at Tuck several groups were now camped and most going swimming. The water wasn't bad but still too cold for me. One guy with a black dog entertained us for awhile by throwing ever larger pieces of wood to be fetch. We kept our consistant pace downwards, thoughts of warmer water in Hyas lake on our minds. Along the way we found many more people on their way into the lakes. One group of younger kids were even hauling a colorful beach umbrella, complete with a stand. Closer to the lake the members of the WTA vacation were hiking in. Some seemed a little dismayed by the giant stacks of lumber. We bid them good luck and walked on, finding a vacant campsite with water access. Wading in knee deep the water was chilly but not terrible with the warm humid air. Beth quickly showed me up by diving in head first. I finally forced myself to flop over backwards in the warmer shallows. Very refreshing! We covered the rest of the flat trail quickly to stay ahead of the bugs, not wanting to add stickiness onto clean skin. A quick change of clothes and we were on our way out. By now nearly every campsite along the road was occupied and many others were just playing in the river. We kept on going, stopping in Roslyn for pizza. Great food and good service too, especially for how busy they were. Satisfied with a great trip, good food and beer, we forced ourselves to return to civilization. Had we brought enough food we may never have come back! Bug report: Not bad at all! Mostly flies, few mosquitos. This will probably change soon as the snow around the lakes melts. Trip photos:


Trail/Campsite open

Is the trail all fine for hiking and camping and such? I was looking at camping at Upper Robin lake, and the Cle Elum Ranger station isn't open on saturdays, so i'm just wondering if it's all good for a one night backpack. You also took some great pictures

Posted by:

dreperk on Jul 25, 2009 12:20 PM

robin and tuck

very fine article, descriptive and funny..makes me really look forward to my trip there on August 16th

Posted by:

carollf on Jul 26, 2010 05:53 PM