Our destination this past week was Lake Valhalla on the Smithbrook trail just east of Stevens Pass on part of the Pacific Crest Trail. There is no outhouse at this trail head but there is a backwoods toilet near the lake. Once again we met and had conversations with some through hikers, two young women from the Czech Republic and a young German man. They had all started from Mexico in March or April and had about two weeks of hiking left before reaching Canada.
Some fall color on the hillside
Bob by a recently broken tree
The downed tree we had to climb around
This downed tree had a split so we could walk through instead of climbing around
For us it was a day hike of 7 miles or 11 km round trip with a 1550 ft or 472 m vertical gain. After a few days of cool and rain in the city it turned out to be a sunny, bright cool day in the mountains. For the most part this trail is in very good condition. There were a couple of trees down, one that we had to climb around, a few rocks and some roots as we neared the lake. There are long switchbacks that I find much easier than steps.
View from the trail
On the trail looking down about 300 ft or 91 m to Lake Valhalla
We saw a couple of these signs warning that campfires were not allowed at the lake campsites
We made it! On the lake shore near our lunch spot
Last time Bob and I tried this in 2015 I was not able to make it the entire way to the lake. He keeps telling me that I am stronger now and I keep telling him but I am older. Nevertheless, I did make it to the lake and am so glad. It was simply stunning.
Now there are just a few flowers still in bloom, the bushes and deciduous trees are turning color . . .
Easy to miss, this small green Single Delight
We think this may be last year's bloom of a pine drop
Mushrooms growing in a rotting tree stump
Mountain ash berries
One lone aster
When we saw this partly eaten cone we knew a little critter should be near
Golden mantled ground squirrel with his treat
The photo above was taken looking due south to Mt. Daniel, on left, and Mt. Hinman, on right, from the trail high point of 5100 ft or 1554 m before it drops down to the lake. Mt. Daniel is 7900 ft or 2407 m high and Mt. Hinman is 7000 ft or 2133 m high. Both have permanent glaciers.
The count: 28 people, including 3 through hikers, and 10 dogs.