We happened to have a delightfully sunny and warm fall day that coincided with a weekend here in Seattle, so we decided to take advantage of it and go for a hike! I am always a fan of a good alpine lake, so we did a popular hike off of I-90 from the Ira Springs Trail Head to Mason Lake.
The key feature of this hike was our inability to read trail signs, such as a prominent one that said:
Mt. Bandera –>
Mason Lake <–
We took a right. Inadvertent peak bagging is the best sort of peak bagging, right? On the plus side, we got some gorgeous views of Mt Rainer from the mountain so it wasn’t all bad.
Once we noticed our failure, we made it back to the split and onward to the lakes. Mason was nice and very scenic, but we trekked on to see some more of the lakes. We were rewarded with a delightful private lake to have a bit of a midafternoon snack on.
Overall, I give the hike a B+. It was all the things I loved (woods, lakes, outdoorsness) and all the things I hate (crazy crowded parking, crowded trails, and straight uphill for the first 2000 vertical ft) about hiking in the Seattle area. We will have to come back in spring and venture further into the lakes without failing prey to a tricky mountain pass.
The views of Mt. Rainier from the hike were rather stunning.
The moment I realized we took a wrong turn, when the lake I wanted to get to was 800 ft down a cliff from me.
But we made it in the end. Perseverance and all that malarkey.
The alpine lakes have the craziest crystal clear water.
The normal trail. Amusingly, on the north face, there was already snow even though we were only at ~4000 ft elevation.