Alpine Lakes

I’ve been paddling some alpine lakes in the North Cascade mountains. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and awe-inspiring to get out on an alpine lake in a packraft. I don’t know how to fish, but it seems like the perfect place for it. This general stuff applies to any steep, rocky, ex-glacial lake environments:

Good Washington Areas: The North Cascade Mountains, all the way throughout. I have a particular preference for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness (beautiful!) and the snoqualmie pass area, right off the I-90 corridor, but these mountains are FULL of gorgeous lakes.

Equipment: Just a raft, warm clothing / PFD to your comfort level, and a paddle. Getting out on an alpine lake is a mellow, peaceful experience. Just watch out for a potentially chilly morning wind, since you’re at higher-than-usual elevation. Sunscreen doesn’t hurt, either.

I like to choose long lakes with steep cliffs jutting into them. It’s remarkable to get paddling up alongside those huge, granite cliffs - it feels like I’m in a dream, or a fairy tale. In many of these lakes, the water is crystal clear, and you can see as far as 50ft. underwater, as the steep, rocky slopes vanish into a blue void. This clarity also leads to some strange optical effects, such as what looks like “fibers of light” underwater. Also, in the right light conditions, it leads to what I call the “liquid crystal” effect: I look across the water surface, and feel as if I’m floating in a giant, fluid crystal, or a lake of quicksilver. Quite magical, in early morning or near sunset.

Swimming is usually out, unless you have a wetsuit - these deep, snow-fed lakes are cold.

PICS my man! PICS!!! (I grew up in the southern Cascades, Mt Shasta/ Burney area- I sure do miss all that water!) :wink: