The hike to Lake Serene was a lot of fun. This was the first time I hiked this trail in the winter, so there were a lot less people and a whole lot of snow. As usual on this hike, I detoured from the original trail at 1.5 miles to look at the bridal veil falls, which during the summer are fast and furious, however the ice seemed to have slowed it down a little. The splashing of the water created ice on everything . The falls were considerably slowed - watch for yourself! (big file ~ 7MB).
Finally, I left the falls and headed up to the main lake 2 miles up the trail. The trail steepened a bit, however there were well maintained stairs to assist in the climbing. The snow line started at about 1800ft, and continued all the way to the lake. At this point, crampons were essential, however I did talk to a bunch of inexperienced hikers who did not have crampons (some wore jeans and tennis shoes!) and naively thought they would get to the top. Anyway, I continued up thru the snow until I reached the top of the trail (2500 ft). At this point I had to downclimb into a frozen creek and somehow climb thru the snow back onto the trail. I noticed a lot of footprints that stopped at this point -- not too many people wanted to play on the frozen creek -- again, the crampons were the only way anyone could have gotten thru here. Continuing on I reluctantly traversed an avalanche field - where I very quickly talked to the only other person to make it to the lake. We both agreed that we were nuts for actually crossing this field, however he did tell me that I would have the lake to myself as he was heading back down.
I finally made it to the lake, and it was gorgeous (see the picture above!). I did have the lake to myself , and the sun was quite strong. I was able to take off my shirt and so that my sun deprived body could soak up some sun. Check out the lake yourself! (big file ~ 4 MB). After being lazy for a half an hour I headed back down.
The trail was not that hard, so I decided to jog the whole way back to the car. I was able to get back to the car in a little over an hour. Jogging back down the mountain really made me hungry. So on the way back I just had to stop at the Sultan Bakery , which I do every time I am in the Alpine Lakes region. They have crappy coffee, but the best apple muffins around (could put Krispy Kreme out of business in a heartbeat). Unfortunately they were out of the muffins, but they did have some gooey Cinnamon Apple sticky muffins. . YUM. If you are ever in Sultan, you should make sure you stop here to get some food.