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Trip Report

Trap Lake — Saturday, Jul. 11, 2015

Central Cascades
Gwen and a trail lined with pearly everlasting
My friend Gwen Tollefson and I are volunteer Back Country Wilderness Rangers for Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. Our first foray a few years ago was a morning of stewardship for Okanogan-Wenatchee NF at the Ingalls Lake trail head during larch season when it was reported that groups of more than 20 and their dogs routinely visited that Wilderness Lake that does not allow dogs. We both hooked up with MBS - Skykomish Disrict. This weekend, we over-nighted at Trap Lake off the PCT and came out the Surprise Creek trail. Our mission on each trip: to instill a sense of stewardship to hikers and, unfortunately, clean illegal fire rings. This time we not only had a huge fire ring to clean at Trap Lake, we had to haul out a large load of garbage left by ne'er do wells there. A wonderful fellow hiker took out all he could earlier, and reported to the Ranger Station that more remains. Enter Gwen and me. We were dropped off at Tunnel Creek, and quickly - well, for for us, that is :) - make it to Hope Lake. It's a steep trail. I was impressed with the good condition of this trail compared to 2 years ago. Good, smooth tread; a lot of work has been done here recently. No fire-rings. We continued on the PCT. Large meadows dotted with islands of trees; mountain hemlock and silver fir dominate. Fog hovering and swirling around the rocky draws and cliffs here and there made an especially pretty landscape view. Most flowers are done - it's so weird out there - a combination of Nature on her normal timeline, and Nature following the ridiculous weather. It was odd to see salmon berry just ripening while lupine and hellebore has gone to seed - and hellibore is already turning its yellow autumn color and soloman's seal and mountain ash are sporting berries. While some water sources are dried up, plenty are still running, so no problem there. We got to Trap Lake and were sick to see 2 campfire scars in the meadow on the lake shore - one about 5 FEET across. It's not likely the vegetation will recover in our lifetime, especially since there are always illegal fires in that meadow. Gwen filled a bag with smelly garbage. We rehabbed the sites as much as we could. Today we walked up to Trap Pass and then descended on the PCT to near Glacier Lake. This is a pretty section of trail; it runs through some easy talus slopes, and there are peek a boo views of Surprise Lake here and there. We hoofed out as fast as we could to meet our ride back to the Ranger Station by 3:30. However, the extra weight of all that garbage made for a very difficult descent. So: next time you're out & about, help out if you can by picking some trash you see. If you can't get much, that's all right; anything you can take away is a big help. We were heartened by the good water sources and the abundant birdsong and pika calls - wildlife was happy with the wettish weather! Both the Tunnel Creek and Surprise Creek trail heads have limited parking.
Trap Lake, fog
The largest of the illegal fire rings at Trap Lake
Surprise Lake from the PCT above it


Fire Rings

Good on you! I've been known to disperse more than a few FRs. I try to view all situations with tolerance in mind. Certainly illegal FRs need to go but so many are also just thoughtlessly created. 3, 4, 5 fire pits all in the same general area, it disgusts me. Circle Peak had a fire pit on it's summit:(

Posted by:

austineats on Oct 08, 2016 02:04 PM