Sunday, November 6, 2016

Summit Lake Reflection

Doing a little reflecting on that reflection
My sister in law lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier. (okay, about 60 miles from it...but that does not sound very poetic ;)) Ask her grand-kids, and they will tell you it is her mountain. It's her sanctuary; her place to retreat, reflect, regroup. Life has given her many reasons to do these things, especially this last year. Though, sadly she hasn't had many chances to visit her mountain--so it was with great honor I took her on a day hike to one of the few places by Rainier that she has never been.
Driving over the Carbon River bridge 
I was actually really hoping to do a backpack. If you truly want to "retreat", you need a tent in my opinion (sorry, but a RV is just not the same) except Juli didn't seem all that excited. But, duh...isn't it just like me to ask someone who has never been backpacking to go in November when I haven't even done it. I tend to push people to go "all in" like that. It really is not very sensitive of me and rarely works, so you'd think I'd learn. 
Though, you can't blame me for considering Juli when it comes to freezing temperatures. I've never met anyone who not only tolerates the cold like she does, but craves it. When we got out of the car at the trail head, she could not understand how I could be shivering in my 3 layers of coats and hats, because she was in heaven. But the only thing on my mind was, "Stay the night?!?! What the hell was I thinking?"
This tree looked like a piece of art; like a curling ribbon! 
I guess I think I'm some sort of photographer, ha ha
Speaking of the trail head, a warning to all who would dare the 3 miles of forest road up there--you better have an SUV or better. I read a trip report where someone said they made it in their Subaru, so I didn't think it would be as bad as it was. Yikes! It felt more like a stream bed than a road in some places. (a thank you to Max, my trusty Ford Escape, who has never let me down) But if you do brave it, do not miss the waterfall on your left about half way if there is anyway you could.
Once on the trail, we came to a quaint little lake with one cute campsite (only a mile in) that made me flip flop again about wanting to backpack. (it helped that it was in the sun) If you have small kids, and a SUV of course, this would be a super easy intro to backpacking. I would want to make camp, then push on to Summit Lake for the day...but I'm not sure I would recommend that.
Dang it! Where's my backpack!
The problem is, once you're at Summit Lake, you're going to want to stay. The campsite we came to (turning right) was absolutely amazing. This is where Juli was sold. "We are coming back" she gushed. Another one bites the dust...and we weren't even at the good part yet!
Summit Lake

Campsite view of the lake
The opposite side ridge view. Two views for one!
From the pictures I saw of this hike, I knew Juli's mountain should be in full sight, but it was nowhere to be seen. I really wanted to surprise her with the glory of the "in your face" view I was expecting (and snow, which was also missing) and now was concerned I had hyped it up too much in my mind. But there is no need to worry--just keep going right. Continue up, even though it feels like you are leaving the lake behind, and you will not be disappointed.
Just a little snow on the way up
I never touch up any of my pictures;
but I just had to play with this one
We sat on a perfect lunch log and took it all in. I'll let the pictures do the talking; I mean, what else is there to say? It was perfection. Knowing there would be nothing else that could beat that view, we decided not to complete the loop around the lake and just went back the way we came. Reflecting and regrouping had been accomplished--but what about retreating? I know Juli is game, but the question is, can I handle the cold? We shall see. 
Thanks for letting me use some of your pics, Juli!
You've inspired me that playing with them is a lot of fun!


  1. Gorgeous! So glad you were graced with a perfect PNW fall day. 😀

  2. Gorgeous! So glad you were graced with a perfect PNW fall day. 😀