Crystal Lakes (Aug 23, 2019)

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crystal_lks_coverConditions: day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Chinook Pass, USGS White River Park
Area: Chinook Pass, WA
Reference: Day Hiking Mountain Rainier
Stats: 8.17mi, 2317' gain (round trip)

I have a Friday off! The trails and roads are so busy these days so when I get these off's time to take advantage of it to hike. That said...I figure this trail wouldn't be quiet since it had easy access and a good part of it was a hike of the PCT.

So...the longish drive to Chinook Pass and then I parked at the wide spot in the road across from the trailhead (it was full). Then a hike up the PCT. I wanted to head to Crystal Lakes but didn't want to do it from the other trailhead knowing that was mostly a forest hike. Starting at Chinook Pass meant I'd start higher and I've be out in the open more.

Summer is winding down. There were a few flowers still out but the day was warm and it was clear from the color in the foliage that fall is on the way.

I hiked the PCT first up to Sheep Lake. Lots of PCT hikers camping along the shores of the lake. Then I continued along the PCT higher up to Sourdough Gap. From there I had to figure out what to do. I thought about continuing along the PCT but figured I might as well go with my original plan of heading to Crystal Lake. It meat cresing the ridge and dropping a few hundred feet to the lake. The trail up to the ridge was somewhat busy but once I dropped down the other side and headed down to Crystal Lake the crowds thinned a bit. I found a nice spot on the edge of the lake to drop my pack and have a quiet lunch. After lunch I headed back to the car and hope.

This was a nice trip. I don't often get to this side of Mt Rainier and it's been fun visiting some new places this year.
Crystal Lakes Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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