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Trip Report

Lake Serene — Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

Central Cascades
Photo by Tom
My boyfriend and I left Seattle at 8am, and arrived at the trail head around 9:30. A Northwest Forest Parking Permit is required, we picked one up at the GoldBar Family Grocer for $5.00. When we arrived at the parking lot, there were about 5 other cars, some empty with hikers already on their way, and two other families just starting like us. Grabbed our pack with plenty of water, bathing suits and our lunch, and headed on our way. The first mile of the hike is fairly level, with a trail free of rocks in good condition. The trail Meanders up the mountain, there is an old mine that forks off to the right fairly early, we didn't have a chance to explore it but I hear it's pretty neat. Around 1 mile there is a fork in the trail, heading up to Bridal Veil Falls. Definitely worth the extra 1/2 mile hike up the mountain, as the Water Fall is absolutely breathtaking. Neither of us has been so close to a waterfall before, let alone at the bottom of it feeling the mist as the water pummels to the rocky floor. (Having only seen Snoqualmie Falls from afar, this was quite a shock, and a highlight of the trip.) The trail up to the falls is very steep and very rocky, but at this time of the year it is dry, just be mindful of your step. After having a banana at the falls, we hiked back down and began the trek up to the lake. It starts off innocent enough, crossing a bridge and over a smaller water fall which was only but a trickle as it has been so dry--and then it starts. All uphill, very steep, and switchback after switchback. Boy, did I feel the burn! It felt incredible to be pushing my body as I have been so preoccupied with work and school, and the scenery was beautiful, a nice break from the daily grind. The trail is in good condition, again just watch your step as it is easy to roll ankles on all of the rocks in the path. (Definitely not your bark mulched inner city trail) The trail also has many sets of stairs, which are all in good condition as well. After about an hour and a half of good hiking (give or take--neither of us had a watch) we began to see the sunshine, and could feel that we were getting close to the end of the harsh climb. Sure enough, we began to level out (still climbing, however) and came up out of the covered forest (the majority of the trail has tree cover, which is perfect for hot, sunny days such as this one) and saw some wild berries as well as some wild flowers. The view from the top (about 3000 feet) is amazing, and could see Mount Index peeking through the trees. Finally after a bit more of a hike, arrived at the final sign announcing "Lake Serene--No camping within 1/4 mile" around a bit of a bend and there it was! Better than all the pictures, more beautiful and perfect then could be imagined. Along the way, came across about 4 other hiking groups, and arriving at the lake over on "lunch rock" there were about 6 other people. We stayed up at the lake for the majority of the day, immediately diving in off the rock in the water for a swim--the lake is bright blue, and so clear can see straight down to the bottom. It is quite deep, at least 30 feet and very, very cold. Not to cold that you can't swim, I jumped in and it felt like the air was sucked from my lungs, but after about a minute your body gets used to it and it feels wonderful. And so cool because you can look down and see your shadow on the lake floor. Apparently I'm cold blooded as I was in their for so long. Ha! If you keep going past lunch rock, you can beat your way on a smaller trail around the lake over to the glacier. Pretty steady stream of hikers, many coming up as we were leaving (around 3:30) which seems like a waste as that is when the sun goes down and it immediately becomes very cold. Definitely a hike you would want to make early to enjoy the warm, sunny part of the day. A great hike, got our blood pumping, not for the weak of heart. Saw an elderly woman in nice slacks with only a water bottle (no good) and I would not recommend this hike for the younger children (at least 10 and up). Come prepared, with lots of water and some healthy snacks. We are both 20, and this hike gave us a run for our money--mad props to all those that go!! Enjoy :)
Bridal Veil Falls
In for a swim! Lake Serene, in all of its glory.
View from the Waterfall.

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