Grandmother’s house is definitely not the Outdoor Dawg’s destination today. But from the peaks, you may be able to see her cabin in the woods.
This week we’re heading into the great outdoors with some wilderness hikes around the area.
Along with these more wild hikes comes the need for more awareness of your surroundings. It comes down to using all your senses to make sure you get back to your car in one piece. This may be as simple as watching out for the bundles of sticks marking a ‘wrong way,’ or keeping a close ear on the two animal calls you hear (and noticing they are getting closer and from different directions).
Aside from bringing your spatial awareness to these more rugged areas, there’s also a different set of gears you may want to lug along with you. At the least, make sure to bring plenty of water — hydration is a key part of wilderness exploration. Bringing some basic emergency supplies is strongly suggested too: a first aid kit, an extra coat, a fire starter (like matches or a magnesium strip), a knife, and a little bit of food.
It’s not particularly uncommon to get lost on these highly-mountainous trails, and setting off well prepared can make a big difference.
Pinnacle and Bear Lakes — 15 miles outside of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway, then five more miles on a gravel road
Once you are properly geared, head out toward Granite Falls and then east on the Mountain Loop Highway while keeping an eye out for Bear and Pinnacle Lakes on Road 4020. The road itself is bumpy and full of potholes, so you may want to leave your lowered sports-car at home.
The hikes to both lakes start from the same trailhead, which later forks off with signs for each. Bear Lake is a short, easy walk. It can be ice-covered from winter to early spring and makes for great photography opportunities.
Pinnacle Lake is a much tougher walk. It is also covered in snow for much of the year, so it’s advised for hikers to bring along something warm even if it is rather temperate at the bottom of Mount Pilchuck. The trail is only 3.8 miles round trip, but it covers 1,100 feet of elevation and ends at 3,800 feet.
Be careful on the way back from Pinnacle Lake, though. At one fork in the trail, one turn looks like it heads for a cliff while the other leads off into nice woods — don’t be fooled: Take the cliff-looking route.
Lake 22 — 10 miles outside of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway, then five more miles on gravel road
Another good trail in the outer areas of civilization is Lake 22, also near Granite Falls. At five-and-a-half miles, with over 1,300 feet in elevation gain, Lake 22 is a good challenge for newer outdoors Dawgs.
The views from the trail are a mix of valleys and mountains, and the trail itself is made from mostly dirt and some larger rocks. Lake 22 is also snowy much of the year, but only after you’ve gotten past the bulk of the elevation gain and the trail has flattened out at the summit. The lake has a boardwalk ringing it, but snow can make much of this impassable if you don’t have snowshoes.
For both of these trails, keep your ears and eyes alert. You may be relatively close to civilization, but these woods are all wild and so are the fuzzy creatures you might meet.
Join us next week for a look at some Olympic Park destinations. Until then, tough out the rain, get your gear, head out to summit a peak, and get your paws into some snow.
Reach reporter Deanna Isaacs at email@example.com. Twitter: @DeeLiteraryOne
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