Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Secret Lake #2


Image "borrowed" from nwhikers.net.

After having so much fun on my previous outing I took another day off to repeat it. I had plans to revisit the Hyas Lakes but instead I got a late start and changed my plans for a closer location. I'm very glad I did. I won't name this hike or this lake but if you've been there I'm sure that you can take a single glance at these pictures and know precisely where it is.

Flowers in Summit Meadow
Flowers in Summit Meadow

Like the previous hike, the trailhead for this Secret Lake #2 is only 30 minutes from my house. I arrived there at 1pm. Soon I was hiking across the meadow above. I was very hot in my waders and by the time I reached the saddle at the top (1 mile and 500 vertical feet later) I was soaked with sweat.

Beaver Pond at Saddle
Beaver Pond at Saddle

Just on the other side of the saddle is this funky little beaver pond. I bet it gets fished a lot but it doesn't look more than a couple of feet deep at most. I was so hot that I was tempted to wade into it to cool off but instead I kept going. The trail descended into the forest, leaving the roaring sounds of I-90 behind.

L Lake
Secret Lake #2

One mile on the other side of the saddle is Secret Lake #2. Its not a secret, I'm sure its on every map and its probably even in some guidebooks. This particular lake is about 8 acres and round in shape. The forest creeps right up to the very edge of the lake so there is no casting room for us fly fisherman. Total hiking time to get to the lake was 1 hour, so I guess I hike at 2 miles per hour. Told you I was slow.

I inflated my tube and floated out into the lake. Small fish were splashing here and there, taking the damsels and dragonflies that were quite active on the surface. On the far side of the lake, just as I was practically falling asleep in my tube, my rod jerked forward and a surprisingly large trout rocketed out of the water in front me. He was a 13-14" male rainbow with dark spawning colors. I didn't measure him exactly and once again, I had no net so getting him unhooked took a long time. I was quite pleased with the size of this fish!

I fished for three hours and caught two more rainbows, both about 11" and they also put a good fight. I had several more hits but didn't convert them. I only fished a carey special and an olive woolly bugger -- action was just consistent enough that I never really considered switching away from them. The sun went behind the trees around 5:30 and it became quite chilly so that's when I hiked my way out.

L Lake Trail
On the way out

Hiking back out requires ascending another 500 feet to the saddle again and then walking back down through the meadows. All in all, it was an easy, satisfying afternoon trip. 6 hours door-to-door, 4 miles hiked, 1000' elevation (500 in, 500 out). The best part was enjoying the warm golden fall sunshine in a small, alpine lake.

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