SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. — My wife and I are not expert hikers. In a typical year, we might hit the trail three or four times if we are lucky. But 2020 is obviously not a typical year.
As the coronavirus pandemic stretches well into summer, we like many have been struggling with the effects of the stay at home orders.
Events have all been canceled, the stores are closed, it seems like the virus is waiting around every turn. A person can only take so many walks around the neighborhood, can only clean out the garage so many times.
Eventually, you need to get out into the wild, to smell some fresh air, to feel the sun on your face. Luckily Washington state is endlessly beautiful and brimming with trails.
Being outside, away from other people just seems to make sense. Everyone you pass on the trail has a mask at the ready and pulling off the trail to allow for social distancing is easy in all but the most extreme cases. It’s for these reasons that we have declared 2020 "The Summer of Hiking."
What we lack in hiking experience and know-how we make up for with enthusiasm and being constantly out of breath. We will be taking weekly hikes (sometimes more) and will share some of what we experienced with you here.
To ensure safe hikes we will do our best to avoid the most popular and crowded trails. So, grab your boots, water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellant, and a facial covering and get out and explore this amazing state with us.
This week we head 51 miles east of Seattle to the Summit at Snoqualmie, a place we know very well, although it looks much different when we usually see it blanketed with snow. As it makes its long journey from Canada to Mexico, the Pacific Crest Trail cuts across Summit West. We will be hiking a roughly 2-mile section of the PCT out to Lodge Lake and back.
The trailhead is in the upper corner of the parking lot, turn right into the main lot, and head as far up and to the right as you can, and you can’t miss the trailhead.
The trail ducks briefly into the trees before bursting out in a vast field of grasses and wildflowers. It cuts dramatically under then lifts gradually rising 800 feet before heading back into the forest at Beaver Lake.
You will cross a few bridges and even a free-flowing stream as you descend from Beaver Lake to Lodge Lake. Be vigilant, it is easy to miss the Lodge Lake Spur if you aren't paying attention. The sign is tacked to a tree just above eye level. The edges of the lake can be muddy, but there are plenty of logs to keep your feet and bottom dry as you relax next to this tranquil mountain lake.
There are several camp spots dotting the lake’s south shore. These, like most sites in the National Forest, are first come first serve. If vacant they make a great place to stop for lunch before heading back up the trail the way you came.
Until next time, happy hiking, and stay safe.
About the author: Originally hailing from the Southwest Washington coast, Ben Rupp has been a Washington state resident for all but two days of his life, the first two days. His mother gave birth a week early while visiting family in Oregon. He eventually forgave her for this misstep. When he is not pushing buttons as an engineer at KING 5 News, Ben can be found snowboarding, skateboarding, traveling, digging through record stores for obscure vinyl records and going on adventures with his wife Darlene and their 65-pound husky mix Bonnie, all with a camera firmly attached to his person.
The music in this video was provided by Aaron Taylor: https://www.youtube.com/user/aaataylor