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Overnight Hike : Twin Lakes with options to go to Lake
Lillian, Lake Yvonne, Margaret Lake and the summit of Mt Margaret
GPS Data: Map, Track, Waypoints
here for GPS eXchange format file.
Click here for a
map of the approach roads.
- Access trails
- Trail forks, junctions
- Mt Margaret summit
- Twin Lakes, Lake Lillian,
Margaret Lake, Lake Yvonne
GPS Stats and other info:
- Round trip to Twin Lakes: 7.3 miles,
1700 feet up, 500 feet down
- Round trip to Lake Lillian: 9.0 miles,
2000 feet up, 800 feet down
- Optional side trip to
Margaret Lake: RT 1 mile, 300 feet
- Optional side trip to summit
of Mt Margaret: RT .5 miles, 400 feet
- Elevation: 2600 feet
- Access road 4.5 miles
Trip Report 8/17/06 Thursday
Overnight Backpack to Twin Lakes
with Joan and Lizzie
Twin Lakes (the one near Lake Lillian). This was to be a practice over-night in
preparation for a multi-day trip along the coast in a couple weeks. I did some
research in my hiking books and on the web about this hike and although it is
described as an easy hike a lot of people seem to get lost along the way. Oh
well, maybe an adventure...
This will be a whirlwind affair, getting out of Seattle early on Thursday, hike
to Twin Lakes or Lake Lillian (at Snoqualmie pass), see the sights, camp over
night, and be back in time to get Joan to work at 1PM. Somehow our 6AM rise time
doesn't happen but after a little more packing, shopping, and driving we're at
the trail at the crack-o-noon! Oh well.
A sign in the parking lot (3530 feet) tells you that the "trailhead" is 100
yards farther up the road but in reality this is just a fork in the logging
road. Go left and immediately pass a gate and some old headless sign posts.
Continue to follow this "trail" (read hot, dusty, rocky, logging road) for a bit
over half a mile (and 500 feet up) where you'll see a real trail at elevation
4000 fork off to the left marked by an old tin sign. We follow the trail up up
up through a large, old clearcut... not much for picturesque here either but at
least it's a trail. Hike up 750 feet in about 3/4 of a mile. About half way up
the trail crosses another old road and people have lined the pathway carefully
with stones. Wouldn't want to get off-route here ;-) For your effort you are
finally rewarded with shade (!), a beautiful forest, old Doug firs, and a nice
path winding through loads of huckleberry bushes. There are views here too, back
toward I-90: Silver Peak, Tinkham, Abiel, and the freeway corridor.
The trail switchbacks through pleasant forest for another half mile (330 feet)
to 5130 and a well marked trail fork. We decide to drop our packs here and walk
the trail down to Yvonne and Margaret lakes. A half mile earns you both. We
dropped about 300 feet through nice forest, wild flowers, and occasional views
to the northwest. Margaret Lake is nice but it was really Lake Yvonne that
caught our interest. It's really just a pond and shrunk from its prime as well,
but it is teeming with life. We spent 30
minutes exploring and chasing frogs and snakes and tad poles.
We retrieve our packs and continue on the fork to Lake Lillian. Here the trail
traverses with little elevation change under the west flanks of the Mount
Margaret summits. Several faint trails fork off to the right - I'm pretty sure
they join a ridge path that links the 3 main high points of the mountain. After
about a mile you come to a spot where you can see into the "cirque" that
contains Twin Lakes. A faint, hard to follow trail forks back (southeast) from
here and gains about 400 feet to the real summit of the mountain (5580). We opt
to head for Twin Lakes, losing 450 feet in a bit over half a mile, arriving at
about 5:30. Here you can continue another .7 miles to Lake Lillian - the trail
is rolling and very pleasant for most of that, then climbing steeply 300 feet to
the lake. If you go this way, you'll come to an unmarked fork. Go uphill (right)
to Lake Lillian and downhill (left) to Lake Laura. Given the time, we
decide to stay here for the night. Time in: 5.5 hours with stops and
Twin Lakes is in its own little valley, cut off from the rest of the world. It
is joined here and there by a half dozen small ponds (mostly dry at this time of
year) and surrounded by grassy meadow, more old forest, cliffs and talus. It's a
beautiful place and we have it all to ourselves. We drop our gear at the perfect
camping spot on the northwest corner of the lake thinking we should explore a
little. Joan and Liz end up sitting in the sunshine half way up the talus field
to the east, talking girl talk. I continue up the talus, through the forest
above and eventually reach the rocky ridge. Huge gendarmes guard the north where
the ridge eventually joins Rampart ridge. To the south it winds like a dragon
tail amidst rocks and forest to become the high points of Mount Margaret. I
follow the ridgeline south for a ways before finally picking my way down the
steep hillside back to the lake.
L to R: Huckleberry, Chikamin, Lemah, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief
Three Queens Mountain (maybe?)
The downside of this paradise is the mosquitoes. They are pretty awful. I build
a smoky fire and that helps tremendously. Joan cooks. Lizzie struggles with her
puzzle of a bivy tent. We dine on gourmet Ramen, red wine with desert of hot
chocolate plus John Daniels. We plan Lizzie's birthday party for this weekend.
She turns 21 tomorrow !
08/18/06 fri - Up at 6:30 AM, we make another fire to combat the mosquitoes,
breakfast, break camp, pack and begin our return hike at about 9. Back, the way
we came in, the trail is steep but short to the flanks of Mt Margaret. While the
girls go on ahead I drop my pack and take a quick detour to explore what I hope
is a summit trail. It is pretty overgrown and sometimes hard to follow until it
finally peters out all together. It's pretty obvious that the top isn't far
above me and the forest is pretty clear so I simply head straight up eventually
re-finding the trail in the brush just below the summit. It's a beautiful day. I
see the familiar view of the I-90 mountains but the ones to the north and east
are way less familiar to me except for Mt Stuart way in the distance. The top
also looks down on Margaret Lake (with campers) and several other lakes nearby.
A very small path leads away to both the north and the south making me wonder if
it would be possible to hike the entire ridge starting south of Margaret all the
way to Rampart. That would be cool.
I head down, losing the trail again. I give up trying to find it, continue
straight down and shortly rejoin the Lake Lillian trail. I double back to pick
up my pack and then beat feet to catch up with the girls. It's pretty much all
downhill from here on out and I make good time, finally catching them near the
Time out: 2 hours including the 35 minute detour to the summit.
Remember grasshopper, "the path IS the goal".
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