Annette Lake? Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s my first repeat hike. Oh god, have I run out of hikes that quickly? Nah, but snow/rain conditions and some friends called for a close lake hike, and Annette was the winner. And I’m glad I went back, because I think it was prettier this time around. Hiked 11/26/2014.
- Distance: 7.5 miles round trip
- Elevation: 1400ft gain
- 40’s and rainy/cloudy
- Commute from Seattle: 50 minutes
- Did I Trip: No, but Jonathan fell in a river so we didn’t all escape unscathed
This was the fateful trail run where I took a flying wipe out off the trail and banged up my knees, leaving me out of commission for a while back in October. Why does reminiscing on that make me miss trail running? Fortunately, this time I didn’t have to hobble-jog the last two miles bleeding from the leg. Instead, it was a much more casual stroll through the woods, with plenty of pictures and snack breaks.
We had gotten a ton of rain lately, so the rivers were absolutely overflowing. Parts of the trail had turned to creeks, and some river crossings were trickier than others. We all had waterproof boots for the most part, and Jean had a hiking umbrella that protected her from rain. Which I found hilarious. It was useful though, it doubled as a walking stick when she needed it crossing some creeks. Okay, that’s still hilarious.
The biggest river was the first one we crossed, which had the bridge. Last time I was here, it was maybe half the size it is now. It was pretty awesome standing over it watching the water come crashing down. We could hear it as soon as we got out of the car, but since you pass it so early in the hike, the sound fades away as you get closed to Annette Lake.
Overall, the Annette Lake trail is pretty straightforward. There’s a “road” crossing (old gravel road), but that’s just about the only intersection on the trail. Elevation gain is slow and steady, which is why I chose it for running in early October. Tougher to run now with snow everywhere, but it was fantastic when the trail was clear. There are a few open talus slopes that will definitely be dangerous when the snow builds up, but since we’ve had such a dry season so far, no worries here. When we arrived, we had been worried there would be snow (the last trip report on wta.org had said snow covered the entire trail) but the rain had melted most of it. Some of us threw microspikes on towards the top where it was snowier, but they weren’t necessary.
Shoulder season is the season to see Annette Lake frozen over! There was a thin sheet of ice covering the top, which made the lake look way more turquoise than it had been last time I was there. I also didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring last time I was here – I snapped a few pics of the lake and turned around immediately. When you reach the lake, if you head to the left, there’s a wide open section for campsites with great places to have snacks and take pictures. We ran into another set of hikers with their adorable dog. We should have gotten her in some of the pictures. She looked thrilled to be on a hike. We asked if she ever hiked in dog booties, and they said she had refused to walk and then ripped them off immediately when they tried.
It’s funny looking at the more recent trip reports (11/29) and seeing that Annette Lake was covered in a foot of snow just three days after we were there. I am of the opinion that everything looks best with a dusting of snow on the trees, so I’m sure I’ll do this again as a snowshoe. Speaking of which, that was the original intent. I had rented snowshoes and everything. If only I had waited three days.
We lucked out with the weather on this one. The forecast was for something like 70% rain, and we ended up only getting some drizzle in the beginning of the hike, and clouds for the rest. Sun is too much to ask for in late November out here, so we settled for overcast. I’m glad the weather didn’t scare anyone off – I was worried I’d have another solo hike after no one wanted to get wet. I underestimated my companions. A little rain never hurt anyone, and it’s a lake hike, so it’s not like we’d be missing out on views.
Everyone brought food! Except for me. Well I had some GU, but that’s usually all I pack along with my 2L of water in my hydration pack. And naturally no one wanted GU, even if they were salted caramel and rootbeer(!) flavored. I guess it’s a lingering habit from trail running season. Snacks on hikes were a new thing to me that I’m slowly getting used to. But I will admit that bread and hummus taste way better on a hike than sitting on my couch.
I have to upgrade my hiking pack as well. I’ve been using my trail running Nathan hydration pack as a daypack, but all that fits in it is water, some gu/powerbars, and maybe microspikes in the back pocket, or a hat/gloves. Small things like that. I can strap an outer layer to the bungees on the back, but I think it’s time for a real day hiking pack. I’ll test the REI canvas pack on the next few and see how that is, but I think I’ll need something more legitimate. Something that can carry more emergency items in case I ever get stuck in snow. Jon had a great one that I might have to research – fully waterproof. Damn. He’s over there to the right doing photographer things. And did I mentioned Jean and Jared were perfectly matching? Precious.
And then there’s me, running around in my neon rainbow of a running/hiking outfit. Actually I tested my waterproof pants on this hike (Novara, so technically cycling but I got them for $10 at the REI garage sale), and those are just navy blue. They have a huge reflective stripe down each side, but no one will notice that on a day hike. And now that I’m wearing hiking boots and not my beloved Peregrines, I’m a little more toned down. I didn’t get to put them through any rigorous testing since it ended up being dry and I didn’t want to sit in a river.
Overall, great cloudy day hike. Jean and Jared have a few more pictures if you want to check those out. I still have yet to see Annette Lake in the sun, but it’s so accessible from Seattle and appropriate for everyone that I’m sure I’ll be back. I’ve heard it’s a good snowshoe, too, so as long as you’re aware of avalanche conditions and appropriately careful, you can check this one out in the dead of winter.