After some grueling workouts earlier in the week, I elected to do an easier and shorter hike this weekend, namely Heather Lake. I knew it was going to be an interesting morning as I got a speeding ticket while I was driving to the trail. Following that I had to deal with the remnants of the Great Snowstorm of 2002™, however my car drove thru the snow like a champ. Accompanying me this week was my girlfriend, Ellen , who got the opportunity to use snowshoes for the first time.
As we started up the short 2.2 miles to the lake, we walked thru a second growth forest, which contained these enormous stumps from the former old growth trees that used to occupy this area. This was mildly depressing, however we would soon move from a second growth forest to a living old growth forest, where we stumbled upon some really unique features. I literally bumped into this old growth tree that contained fungi growing up the entire trunk, and these ice crystals which grew horizontally instead of vertically. I found this unique as I have never seen ice grow parallel to the ground. My guess is that this ice was formed from very tiny droplets of water seeping thru the dirt.
Finally, we made it to the lake, however much to our chagrin, there were no avalanches falling from Mt. Pilchuck which is atypical for this hike. Watching the avalanches (from a safe distance) is a rather fun endeavor that I'd suggest others should witness. Heather Lake was frozen, as you'd expect this time of year, and there were some frozen waterfalls that were running down the sides of the adjacent mountains.
Overall, this was fun, non strenous hike.