After attending a
racial diversity conference on Thursday against the backdrop of two weeks of Senate confirmation hearings, during which the full scale ugliness of patriarchy was on display, I felt a call from the wilderness to go to a place of silence, to look within, and resolve any internal conflict and separation from life. In order to serve others, sometimes we need to focus on our own self-care.
We left the Denny Creek trailhead at 730am and hiked up towards Melakwa Lake amidst the colors of autumn.
About 40 minutes into the hike, the first clearing opens with Chair Peak in the distance.
Moon setting above autumn fields.
A 7.5 hour energy infusion of powerful rock, riotous fall foliage and shades of green.
My dependable and stout hiking partner – Dave – currently in between jobs and looking for work in the legal profession. (I convinced him to take a day off from the job search and expand his inner horizons). Email your employment inquiries – I will forward to him.
Morning peekaboo sun rays as we approach the first pass before Melakwa Lake.
Hiking the dry creek bed between Lower and Upper Melakwa Lakes
More rocks – lots of pikas singing to us.
Softness in rocky places.
Heading up towards Melakwa Pass – rocks on the west side of the valley were brown. On the east, gray.
Head for the base of the cliff (center left of image), and then traverse (upwards and to the right) along a narrow boot trail between the cliff/trees on left, and the talus slope on the right.
Grove of ancient trees near Melakwa Pass. This place was magical.
Chair Peak Lake from Melakwa Pass.
Melakwa Pass panorama
Descending from Melakwa Pass to Chair Peak Lake
Chair Peak lake
Snow Lake and the Central Cascades beyond the Middle Fork Snoqaulmie valley in the distance.
Headed toward the ridge connecting to Gem Lake
But first we had to descend about 100 feet down (from the lone tall tree in upper center), then traverse straight across a very tricky (steep) talus field that was now wet with a light drizzle.
A more conservative route here would descend 100-200 feet further down and then traverse across, then regain the lost vertical. We chose to traverse right next to the base of the cliff (the high route). There was one tricky move requiring one to grab onto a branch, leaning underneath a tree (branches in face), then penduluming across, while sliding down a smooth ledge.
The final traverse to the ridge to Gem Lake (Kaleetan Peak, Melakwa Lake, and Chair Peak in bakcground).
Riotous colors – looking down towards Lower Wildcat Lake.
One more steep boot trail above Gem Lake descending slippery roots and dirt before reaching gentler maintained trails.
It was drizzling with a chill wind as we traversed around Gem Lake. We paused here to nibble on dark chocolate and feast our eyes on more color.
No, not survey paint. Purple poop (bird? pika?)
Doctor Seuss painted this scene.
so many tarns
Dramatic cliffs above Snow Lake
Snow Lake – still about 2 hours to go to reach the bicycles stashed at the Alpental parking lot. The traverse from Chair Peak Lake to Gem Lake (red line) is the crux of the trip.
About a two mile bike ride from Alpental parking lot that descended 800 feet on the old Cascade highway back to the trailhead at Denny Creek.
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