My plan was to hike to Waptus Lake. I've never been there. I checked in at the Ranger Station in Cle Elum and learned there were no recent reports for the trail. I promised to provide on upon my return. Spoiler Alert: I didn't make it to Waptus Lake.
I was camped at the Owhi Campground, so I opted to walk the mile from there to the trailhead. That short trail has numerous downed trees over it. They're all passable, but I'm heading back up there today and I hope to take out some of the branches on the trees that make getting over them a challenge.
The bugs are really bad. Mosquitos normally don't show much interest in me, but on this trip they were an constant presence. I don't wear bug spray -- it's usually unnecessary, and I really hate the feel of it on my skin. On this trip, I wished I'd had a hydration bladder instead of water bottles, because every time I stopped I'd be mobbed by mosquitos. Alas and alack, that's the consequence of a very wet winter, I suppose.
I went up to Pete Lake first to stop for lunch. I haven't hiked with an overnight pack in a couple of years, and I'm quite the slowpoke. Pete Lake is gorgeous, as always. The trail to Pete Lake is in very good shape. It's still muddy in a few spots, and there's a fair amount of stream crossings. I'm pretty timid when it comes to river fords - even more so when I'm alone - and I had no difficulty.
Lunch consumed, I head up the trail toward Escondido Lake and Waptus Lake. At about 4000', I began to find snow on the trail. The snow itself is crossable, but be wary as it's melting out and I post-holed a few times. At times, it made route-finding a challenge. (At the junction with the trail to Escondido Lake, I had to check the orientation of the trail to Waptus because I couldn't figure out where it was.) About a half-mile after this trail junction, I realized I no longer had the map. Given that I've never hiked this trail, that there are numerous trail junctions I'd need to identify, and that I'd probably need to identify the orientation of the trail again in hopes of finding it, I retraced my steps in hopes of finding the map. No luck.
I did not see any human or horse tracks in the snow or mud, so I'm guessing there haven't been any other hikers up this trail in a while. There's a clump of three trees down over the trail about a quarter-mile before the junction with the Escondido Lake trail; I don't see how a horse could navigate around it. (I had to crawl under it.)
I headed back down to Pete Lake to spend the night. I imagine this trail will be much easier to hike in a few weeks. The snow fields are forming dams in places, flooding the trail. In a lot of places, the trail is a stream. Expect to get your feet wet. Also, I could not have made this hike without my trekking poles.