Kevin Shum — Lake 22
20 Oct 2019

On this typical, Pacific Northwest rainy day, two of my friends and I decided to brave the rain and cold and head for a hike at Lake Twenty-Two. Only an hour or so drive from Seattle, the North Cascades are easily accessible from the city. We were told this hike was easy and flat, but we soon found out we were in for a nice surprise.

Stepping into this alpine wetland, looking up, I felt like we had entered an entirely different world and stepped into a prehistoric time capsule. The air was misty and sweet. Moss covered the tree trunks. Ferns grew in every direction. The surroundings felt pristine and untouched.

As we continued on the path, the trail suddenly turned from soil to rocks. So much of the trail is wet, water flowing down the sides of the mountain. We passed by many waterfalls and streams. My shoes weren’t completely waterproof and quickly got damp and miserable.

But views out into the mountains at some of the exposed parts of the trail were stunning. The foggy mist added to the dramatic expanses of the alpine forests and hills.

Once we arrived at the lake an hour and a half later, I gasped. The opening from the path was unexpected but also a sigh of relief after maneuvering through the rocky paths and hopping through streams and puddles to get to this point. Even better, the trail was quiet, and we only passed by a handful of groups on our way to the lake.

I can only imagine how beautiful this must be in the summer when the skies are blue and clear, and in the winter when the moutntains are snow-capped. On this wet fall day, however, we still appreciated the diversity of nature the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I never expected to have such easy access to forests like these, which remind me of the ones that I visited in Australia or New Zealand, here just a quick ride out of the city. I’m loving my new home more and more.

After a late afternoon start, we were quickly approaching sunset. We skipped the hike around the lake and hurried back to the car. Once back it, it immediately started pouring. Bursting with hunger, we headed to a Korean bbq restaurant and ate away.

Good to bring waterproof shoes, plastic bag to cover your camera and gadgets, gloves, good snacks, and you National Park pass if you have one as well for parking. There’s no cell service out here either (on T-Mobile at least).