This day could do no wrong. Sun, snow, blue sky, chickadees, pups…and in late February, these nice of conditions are unheard of *insert double hand bling emoji here*.
A couple of gal pals and myself were looking to go hiking and Summit Lake was recommended by my cousin Mackenzie. I saw some of pictures she had taken when she did the hike the weekend before and the views of Rainier looked epic. With a crystal clear day forecasted for Sunday, we packed up the pups, met up around 7:15am, snagged a coffee and to headed out towards the beautiful mountain in the sky.
After 1.5 hours and a rough 6 mile drive up the forest service road, we made it to the trailhead….and most definitely found where the snow had been hiding. The trail was covered the whole way, but we were just fine with hiking poles and boots. The trail is a pretty easy climb and that day it was quiet and gorgeous, meandering through snow covered trees with an occasional peek-a-boo view down the valley.
As the trees opened up into the lake basin, we saw a few hikers hanging by the lake edge having lunch. With a quick hello, they mentioned that if we were looking to get some stunning views of Rainier, to head around the lake until we came to a clearing and to veer right up the ridge vs. left (what they did). They told us to look for a slight depression from where previous hikers had gone before it had snowed over. No one had been up that way yet that morning and they had followed a group that had gone wrong way. We thanked them and kept truckin’ along around the lake.
We came to the clearing and found it full of largely untouched snow. So naturally, the pups went crazy, bounding here and there chasing each other while we took a minute to find the depression the other hikers had mentioned. After finding the trail, we headed up the ridge. While cresting the top, that beauty Rainier came into view in all her glory. Shining and sweaty in the sun. So of course, we took one hundred billion pictures. Because that is what you do when you are graced with the presence of a queen (yes, we decided that Rainier was most definitely a woman).
We were going to hike up the whole ridge, but the snow started to get deep, so we turned back and found a little overlook that we camped out on, had lunch and imbibed in a few cold snacks (i.e. beer). As it was Kami’s birthday the next day, we decided she needed to do a pre-birthday shotgun with that gorgeous gal of a mountain, so we made sure to record it for posterity’s sake. Kami’s Birthday Shotgun
Duncan and Kami having a moment.
The wind picked up so we started to head back down. We made short work of the hike down, got back to the cars and changed into warm clothes. As we drove home we decided that we needed a celebratory drink with a side of something fried. We stopped off at the Wilkeson Saloon in tiny Wilkeson, WA. The bartender was nice enough to make us all Bloody Mary’s (at 2 in the afternoon, but just know, I consider the Bloody Mary to be a 24-hour beverage) as well as fries and something we dubbed ‘the heart attack in a bite’ (a tater tot and jalapeño, wrapped in bacon and covered in cheese, with a side of blue cheese dressing…yeah…it’s an accurate name).
dolla dolla billz ya’ll.
This is a great, relatively short (5 miles) and easy hike with high pay off in spectacular views. If you have the time to make the drive (which is also pretty and 2 hours exactly from Seattle) Summit Lake is well worth it.