I go to the mountains to renew my spirit, to sing to the forest creatures, to make prayers for the waters to flow purely, and for healing to bless this world.
I left Seattle a little before 5am, arriving in the pitch black at the Snow Lake Trailhead/Alpental where I stashed my bicycle in the bushes, driving back down the old highway to Denny Creek trailhead. I began my hike with a headlamp at 6am, taking note of the slippery dew on rock and duff, planting my hiking sticks very deliberately to steady me.
The hike up the south side of Hemlock Pass (2 hours 20 minutes from the trailhead) was completely in the shade until just near the top. Cresting the top, I dove back into the shadows of Alpental and remained there for the next two hours until I had passed Chair Peak Lake.
The trail to Melakwa Pass skirts the left side (traveling north) of Melakwa Lake. At the second, smaller lake, go counterclockwise (right side), then more or less up the middle of the valley.
I reached the Alpental parking lot at 1:30 p.m. about 7 hours and 40 minutes from Denny Creek trailhead. From there, it was a 15 minute (screamer) bike ride down the old highway to the car at Denny Creek trailhead. Time for bed now!