Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Backpacking Noble Knob and Lost Lake

I think Lost Lake was meant to stay lost. (It will always be lost among all the other thousands of lakes by the same name) Maybe it's not so bad from an easier direction? We stayed there after a rough 8 mile hike that took us past Noble Knob with a detour to George Lake when we ran out of water. The trail goes up and down along a ridge and the lakes are all at the bottom of the valleys. So we had a lot of elevation gain along the way.
We drove to the Corral Pass campsite on Friday afternoon and car camped for the night. In the morning we drove a few yards to the trail head parking lot and took off with our packs. The views of Mt. Rainier were great along the trail. Panoramic views from the Knob are fabulous (Beljica was better though). We saw three lakes from up there. The closest one had people all over and in it. We decided we didn't want to go there for the night. The next closest lake looked more brown than blue but we didn't see any people on it so we aimed for that one. Between the directions we had and the trail signs, or lack thereof, we ended up on the wrong trail which took us where we didn't want to go. Halfway there we could tell we were headed to the overcrowded lake but we couldn't stop because we were out of water. After discussing our options, we dropped the packs halfway to George Lake so we couldn't change our minds and stay there because we were too tired to keep going. We only took our water bottles, platypus and the filter. There were more people at the lake than we saw from the knob so we pumped water, drank it, pumped some more and left.
By then I was cranky and not looking forward to the 3 miles back up to the ridge and down the other side to the lake we hoped would have fewer people. Along the way C was nice enough to completely distract me from my complaining by asking questions about camera gear. She's so smart.
We found a nice large campsite at the north end of Lost Lake, dropped the packs and went swimming! It had been in the 80's or 90's all day so it really didn't matter how cold the water was. We've never gone swimming in an alpine lake before. But this one wasn't fed by glaciers (this time of year anyway) so it was reasonable.
While setting up the kitchen at our campsite that evening a fearless chipmunk appeared and was very interested in our chocolate. I thought it'd make some interesting photos so I put the whole bar on the ground and backed up to shoot him trying to open the wrapper. It was pretty dark by then so only a few worked.
It was still so hot when we went to bed that we had to pull the rain fly off the tent.
We got up and out really early because we were afraid of hiking up to the ridge in 80 degree heat. It was cloudy enough that we weren't too hot, but I was still sweating fat. And I managed to pull a back muscle lifting C's pack that morning.
The wild blueberries along the trail were delicious. And a cloudy Rainier is pretty photogenic.
It was a tough, but really good trip.


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