Wednesday, May 14, 2014

West Fork Foss River -- Trout Lake

What a difference a few miles can make.  The trail to Trout Lake along the West Fork of the Foss River, near Stevens Pass, Washington in the Alpine Lakes Area was nothing like the East Fork Foss River Trail.  

Even though it was a warm, sunny day there were still a few small patches of snow and not nearly as many wildflowers blooming yet however we saw hundreds of Trilliums again, yellow stream violets, Coltsfoot, and Bleeding Heart but not much else.  No Calypso orchids at all.  The trail composition is entirely different also.  This trail was rocky composed of small gravel to fairly large stones that made walking more challenging.  As the photo above shows it was more open terrain with less undergrowth between the trees.  The elevation gain was approximately the same; about 500 feet, starting at 1600 feet and ending at 2100 feet, with the first section of the trail relatively level then a steep incline going up to Trout Lake.  It is classified as an easy hike with a round trip distance of 3 miles. 

We noticed this long waterfall on the hillside some distance away and zoomed in for photo.

There were a few trees down and one very large tree that had fallen directly across the trail so we had to climb around it.  The space beneath was not big enough to crawl under and the log was too large to try and climb over.  Fortunately others had done the same thing so there were footholds on one side of the bank.  I think we were too busy trying to navigate our way around it to remember to take a photo.  At another spot we looked up to see where more than one avalanche had started and come down bringing rocks and trees with it along with the snow.

This extremely large tree Bob is standing next to must be ancient.  There are not many old growth trees like this one anymore. We estimated that the tree is about 10 to 12 feet in diameter and about 200 feet tall.

While the East Fork trail had probably 10 or 11 streams to cross the West Fork trail only had two wide but shallow ones to walk through and one new bridge over the main river.  At one of the shallow water crossings we saw a little brown spotted frog that we tentatively identified as a Pacific Treefrog.  The frog was so well camouflaged it was hard to see. 
We also saw a chipmunk and several different butterflies.

Can you find the frog?

Trout Lake is like a picture book mountain tarn.  As we sat on a log to have our lunch it was so quiet we could hear birdcalls, rushing water, even the wind blowing on the water made little sounds as it rippled.  We only saw two other people all day. 

Trout Lake

Large groupings of Trilliums were common along this trail.

Narrow but non-scary new bridge

Views of the river from the bridge

Mourning Cloak butterfly

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