It's been a year since I moved to Seattle, and I'm still amazed at how close the city is to the mountains. The Cascades are to the east, the Olympics are to the west, and of course the prominent Mt. Rainier is just south of us. Seattlites are only a stone's throw away from being immersed in the mountains. This isn’t the case for the Boston area, where I'm originally from. You would need to take a day trip and drive several hours to visit the mountain ranges there.
I got into hiking after my coworkers organized weekly hikes after work. Since then, hiking has been one of my favorite pastimes and I'm always looking forward to plan my next one. I've done around 25 hikes in the PNW area so far, and my most memorable one was done after work just recently. We hiked Lake 22, located just an hour drive from Seattle, in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
A moderate 5.4 mile out-and-back hike, the trail had panoramic views of the mountainous terrain leading us to the lake. Upon reaching Lake 22, we marveled at the stillness of the water and how it reflected the landscape above us like a mirror. The lake itself looks buried in the valleys of the mountains, almost as if it was formed by crater. Snow was still present from the winter but it was melting fast, forming several waterfalls down to the lake.
We rested and ate our packed snacks, then we hiked around the lake to the other side. We reached the snow and someone came up with the awesome idea of sledding down the slopes of the mountain. We all ran up the steep snowy incline until our legs gave out and one by one, slid down the slope. With no surfaces to sit on, we used our jackets and backpacks as impromptu sleds. It was a huge adrenaline rush, sliding down with tremendous speed back toward the lake. I did get some scrapes from the pebbles and sticks on the way down.
It was getting late, so we had a few more rounds sliding down the slope. We posed for a group photo, packed our belongings, and finally started our decent back to the trailhead. I came home past my usual bedtime, exhausted but full-hearted. It was a great night spent hiking with some great people, even if it was on a work night!