Where: Near Snoqualmie Pass in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Mileage/ Elevation gain: 4 miles up to Rachel Lake/ 1600EG, then 1.5 mile/600 feet up to Rampart Lakes
Total Mileage: Around 11
My husband had this weekend off so we knew we had to plan some kind of backpacking trip. The weather was not looking good all over Washington (surprise, surprise), so I looked in some of the places with the least likely hood of rain. I saw that Rachel Lake had much less chance of rain than some other places so we went with it.
We had a group of 6 backpackers and 2 day hikers with us and 3 dogs, the biggest group yet! Lots of new friends were made that day as we all trekked up the mountain. The first 2.5 miles of this hike are easy peasy. After that, all the incline comes into play and with a mixture of rough terrain, we were all struggling. It felt like the longest 4 miles of our life to get up to Rachel lake (add in 30 pound packs might I add you). We finally get up and start scurrying to find the perfect site, a hard feat with looking for an area to fit 3 tents. The trail at the top does not go around the whole lake. If you go right it brings you up to Rampart Lakes and if you go left it takes you up the lake a bit with more camp spots. We walked about 5 minutes until we found an area with a descent clearing to fit all 3 tents + 2 hammocks. We all set up camp, ate lunch, and lounged around a bit. I had my sites set on getting up to Rampart Lakes as well, heck we were already up here, lets see it all! Most of the group was slow to get going, but 5 of us eventually dragged our tired bodies up the mountain once again. The 1.5 mile was steeeep but we were shortly rewarded with great overlook views of Rachel Lake. We got to the ridge and continued to what we thought was the trail. With lots of bushwhacking, we knew it wasn’t right and backtracked to the sign that pointed left to Rampart Lakes and right to Lila Lake. We made the short, easy trek over to Rampart Lakes and was that a sight to see. This area was vastly different from the foliage below with many Alpine Lakes and different terrain. It was one of the prettiest areas I have been to in Washington so far. I would love to explore that whole area more and stay up there. After exploring a bit we made our way back to camp and made chicken and dumplings backpacker meals, made s’mores, drank wine, and enjoyed each others company.
This was also Cooper’s (our one year old golden retriever) first time backpacking. We had gotten him his own pack to carry his food and a doggy sleeping bag (it’s a real thing!). He had gone on many hikes and thought he was ready to do an overnight. He handled all the day hiking very well and made new doggy friends. When it came time for bed he moved around a lot at night as the wind was howling and there seemed to be lots of noises, but we all made it through the night.
We all slowly woke up the next morning and heard the pitter pattering of rain on the tent. Internally we were all thinking lets just never leave the tent so we don’t have to deal with the rain. Well that chance of rain came through, but at least it wasn’t the day before. Let me just tell you packing up a wet tent is at the bottom of the barrel for fun things to do on my list. Everything. Was. Wet. We donned our rain coats, rain covers for our packs, and hit the trail and made the 4 miles back. So wet trails + 80 pound eager golden retriever + steep descents do not mix well. Cooper does have a pulling problem on leash and made it miserable going down the mountain. We keep him on leash for safety and to avoid that $125 fine. Maybe he will calm down the pulling with age?…
We got back to the car in 2.5 hours and made a pit stop for the good ole’ Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend. This is the spot for burgers/fries/milkshakes after a hike FYI.
Another backpacking trip in the book, new friends acquired, and as always, a deeper love for Washington and the beauty it holds.