Heather Lake Hike: Roots, rocks, and boot miles

I want to start off by thanking my dog, Bruno, for letting me carry him for 75% of this hike.

Yes, I was ever so privileged today to get to carry my 6 lb dog up and down a steep mountain along with my camera and other crap (my camera weighs more than my dog, btw) for 4.6 miles.  Totally unplanned.

Why did this happen? How did it happen?

I don't know. Here's what I think happened though: It took an hour and a half to drive to the trailhead, and he wouldn't sit still the whole time he was in the car (you know how they say dogs are like their owners? Yup...). By the time we got there, I think he had worn himself out from running around the car excitedly (backseat, front seat, back seat, front seat, gotta look out every window, life is too exciting, back seat, front seat, omg, omg, there's a dog! squirrel! back seat, front seat, lick katie's face, try to drive car, fall off the seat, fall off the seat again, [you get the idea- exhausted yet?]....). Gosh, I want to pull my hair out just from thinking about all of this. Normally he loves to go for hikes, so I don't know what his deal was today. Poor little guy...

Another thing, Bruno, thanks for making me look like "one of those girls" (the ones who put their dogs in bags and carry them around). Haha.  Bruno refused to move after hiking for a few minutes. His way of refusing is to pull on his leash in the opposite direction and then sit on his butt if he doesn't get his way. So I picked him up and kept walking. After walking with him under my arm for a few minutes, I realized that I couldn't walk the rest of the four miles with him like that, so I decided to put him in my backpack (comfortably, of course, with it unzipped enough so he could look out and put his little paws out). I had to flip my backpack around in order to do this, so yes, I wore my backpack on the wrong side of my body. As I walked by other hikers on the trail, I explained to them my predicament just so they'd know.

Now to talk about the hike-

I wasn't overly thrilled with this one. I don't know if it's because of the situation with my dog, the fact that I couldn't clear my mind long enough to relax, or what.  "Katie time" is something that is very important to me. I love being alone; I thrive on it. I need time to myself every now and then, and I just haven't been getting it lately. I need to decompress, and whenever I feel this way, going out into the woods helps. I happily work long shifts every weekend. I volunteer my time at the ED and CPC-- I am go, go, go. all. the. time. I love it. I love my life. My mom calls me the energizer bunny. But sometimes... sometimes I just really need to be alone. Just all alone. No one around. Today was one of those days, and it didn't realize it until I was in the middle of a forest, alone with my dog, whom I love very much, but was not making the hike any easier for me... I wanted to start crying. I wanted a break. Then my earbuds broke.


Back to the hike.

If you want to hike up to a lake in the north cascades and have to choose between Lake 22 or Heather Lake, I'd definitely recommend Lake 22. I think the trail is much nicer for Lake 22 because it doesn't have a really "steep" part to it. I guess steep is nice if you're looking for a harder work out, but I was just looking for a nice hike with my dog. The WTA site says this hike is kid friendly and dog friendly, and is a good "first real hike" for children.

Uhh.... If I had young kids, I wouldn't take them on this hike. I'd especially recommend not going on this hike when it's wet. It's really unsafe. There are too many smooth rocks that become very slick and it's easy to lose your footing when walking across them.

There was a good 30-45 minutes where I was climbing up and over rocks and roots and "man made steps" that were almost 2 feet off the ground from the last step. With the dog hanging off the front of me and the camera hanging off the back of me, this became quite difficult. The fact that it had just rained and I was dodging puddles and navigating slick rocks and slabs of rock didn't help either.


I just kept telling myself... just make it to the top...it'll all be worth it...

There was a small section of the hike that really confused me. For those who live or have hiked in the PNW, you know that everything is green. All the time. Everywhere you look, there are a million shades of green. It's gorgeous; there's nothing quite like it. So imagine my surprise when I walked through a segment of the switchbacks on this hike today and it was mostly... brown?

Where did all the moss go? And the bushes? And all the other plants that cover the floors of these forests? Why were there leaves on only the tops of the trees? Where were all the mushrooms? The tree fruit?

Had there been a fire there? 

It may be hard to tell in this photo because there is so much going on, but there are tons of fallen trees and branches that liter the ground, piled up on each other. There's a little bit of green, but not a whole lot.

I'm guessing there was a fire. It almost looks like there was some sort of wash out, too. There is forest debris everywhere, randomly. It's just weird because... like I said, only a small part of the trail looks like this, and the rest is your typical normal, overgrown, NW green goodness. Hmm. Anyway...

I always love coming across a bridge on a hike. I love how they have their own personality (this makes them super fun to walk across). Look at how quirky this one is. 

There were a lot of small, very rocky streams to cross over, such as this one...

And a lot of the trail looked like this-- lots of roots and rocks on an incline....

I'm a big fan of mushrooms, if you didn't know. They look neat and (some) taste pretty spectacular (I'm talking about you, morels... I know where you guys live, watch out!). I saw a bunch of mushrooms while on the trail today, most of which I had seen before, but was captivated by this one especially. I think it's some sort of russula, but I could be wrong.

I finally made it to the lake. It took about two hours. I was so relieved when I saw the water through the trees. Bruno even wanted to get out of my backpack and walk around (thank goodness- I brought him on the hike so he would get some exercise, so I was relieved it was finally happening).

The lake was pretty. The backdrop was gorgeous. We didn't stay for long though.

On the way down, I saw the biggest tree fruit I had ever seen... can you spot it in the first picture?

Whew... huge!

Here's Bruno looking at me, his face saying "Do I seriously have to walk down that, Katie?"

Uh huh. Guess who ended up in the back pack 5 minutes later...

Brown area again...

Tree growing out of a tree stump. Pretty cool.

Bruno on the ride home. You'd think the little guy ran a marathon or something. He was out cold.  Pathetic... ;) Lol.

And that's all I have to say for right now. Sorry for the negativity in this post, it has just been one of those days...

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