Updated on April 7, 2020
(Failed) Hiking to Annette Lake
Second day of my Seattle trip as my friend and I hiked (part of) Annette Lake Trail in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
When searching for hiking trails with snow near Seattle, I found that the mountains near I90 were popular among locals. And the trails were clustered around two regions, the town of North Bend (Rattlesnake Mountain / Mount Si) and Snoqualmie Pass (many mountains).
Even more helpful was Washington Trails Association’s website with details of the trails and many community trail reports, from which I learned snow would be more plentiful in Snoqualmie Pass region (only turned out to be too much), so I dug things deeper and picked Annette Lake Trail, that led to a beautiful lake and wasn’t rated too difficult.
It’s winter and the road to “Annette Lake Trailhead” on Google Maps was impassable with snow. And it’s Martin Luther King Day so the mountains were popular with people. So after finding that parking was extremely limited (if ever existed) South of I90 near the ramps, we parked our car North of I90 on “NF-9034” road by Google Maps. This added 2km of roundtrip distance to our trip.
By the way, technically one should pay for parking at trailhead (except limited holidays like MLK day today). But since the trailhead parking lot was inaccessible, and there’s no fee box near where we parked, I guess in winter it’s free for all?
And here’s GPS tracking:
For the first hundred meters, the trail wasn’t very obvious in snow. It took us quite some off-road explorations before getting back to the beaten trail.
Then there’s more misery. While this trail would make a perfect snowshoeing experience, we didn’t have snowshoes. So for every twenty steps or so on trail, we would step onto a loose patch of snow and sunk in at knee’s height (if not more). For me, this would be accompanied by a fearful scream. Then it’s the painful process of digging my legs out, dusting off snow on trousers, and repeating this all over again another 10 meters in.
Obviously hiking in this snow without snowshoes had significantly slowed us down. Two and a half hours in and less than 5km from our car, it’s 2pm and we realized we weren’t going to make it to Annette Lake and back at parking lot with daylight. So we sat down by the trial and had a field lunch, before heading back.
So much a pity that weather’s pretty good for the day, occasionally we could see sunlight through the forest (that the city of Seattle hadn’t seen for weeks).
That meant my friend could fully engage in his hobby of clearing trees of snow patches, with snowballs.
Since we didn’t make it to the end of Annette Lake, my friend and I were searching for photos that we could still publish on Instagram. The other end of the fallen tree (above) was hanging a meter above ground, so I had an idea of us sitting on top of that.
So after clearing off snow, my athletic and nimble friend quickly scrambled on top of that trunk, resulting in the following instagramable photo.
Unfortunately, that turned out to be too much of a challenge for someone clumsy as me. =_= After a few attempts, I decided I shall surmount this trunk with Photoshop.
But luckily a few minutes down the road, I found a segment of ice tube that served the perfect trophy photo.
Darkness was falling just as we were coming out of the forest.