Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thompson Lake

If you look on a map, just east of North Bend is mighty Mailbox Peak.  Just on the other side lie a series of lakes.  Two Granite lakes and then, over a "hump", Thompson Lake.

None of these lakes are known as fine fishing lakes, but they are SO DANG CLOSE to North Bend that its worth making a trip, just to say you did.  And, they are beautiful, quiet and accessible.

Looking back the way you came
You park at the very crowded Mailbox Peak trail-head, where the Middle Fork road pavement ends. Ride your mountain bike about a quarter mile down the Middle Fork road and turn right onto the first dirt road - this is the Granite Lakes Road.  It used to be open, but now it is gated, meaning that there are 5.5 non-motorized miles between you and the Granite Lakes. 

Neat campsite at the end of Granite Lakes Road
Push your mountain bike three or four miles up the road and then hide it in the bushes.  Continue walking until the road forks.  Take a right toward the Granite Lakes.  At the end of the road is a neat little campsite if you decide to stay overnight.

There's a nice little trail a few hundred feed down to Upper Granite Lake.  A shallow creek connects the two lakes.  In the summer of 2011 there aren't any fish in the Upper Granite, so you rest a while, and then walk back up the road to fork, on your way to Thompson Lake.

Thompson Lake Trail
Up, Up, Up you go on more dirt roads until you reach 4000 feet (you started at 800 feet).  Now you leave the dirt roads and head on to a true forest trail, the well-marked Thompson Lake trail.  The trail tops a ridge and then plunges down to Thompson Lake.

As you descend, you see that there are several islands in lake.  You unpack your trail boat and fish the rest of the afternoon.  You might catch a 14" trout!  There are several campsites at Thompson, but you are bold, and you decide to set up camp on the main Island itself!

Camping on the main Island

To your delight, you are the only person at the lake.  You haven't seen anyone since you left the middle fork!  Sure you had to go 8 miles to get here but that just means you're going to sleep well tonight.  In the morning you fish a little bit and then pack up for the trip back.

The Road Back
The trip back is easy and gives you plenty of time to consider how lucky you are that you live so close the awesome Snoqualmie Valley.  You arrive to where you stashed your bike.  Put two hands on the brakes and hold on, you'll be back at your car in 15 minutes!

1 comment: