Hike to Cutthroat Lakes 8/27

15 of us drove up to the Mt Loop Road area and hiked into the remote and pristine Cutthroat Lakes, which offered a refreshing swim and loads of yummy blueberries to munch on.

It was a warm morning already as we departed Seattle. It was a quick and easy drive to the Mtn Loop Road. After a quick pit stop at the Verlot Ranger Station, we drove up the narrow but not too rough Mallardy Ridge Road. Half way up the road, a huge cedar had fallen across the road, apparently too massive for Forest Service crews to remove. By driving on the lowest part of the road, we were able to pass underneath it with a foot or two of clearance.

We were lucky to find a few parking spots along the end of the road at the trailhead, with no real parking lot. The trail started a steep climb right away, and the rough rocks and roots only relented occasionally as we passed through some lovely sub-alpine meadows, with tiny tarns, some of them dried up after a couple of very dry months. An abundance of wild blueberries and huckleberries soon lined the trail and slowed down our progress as many of us paused to pick and munch them. As we climbed up the ridge, we could see a fair number of nearby rugged peaks, including Mt Dickerman, Forgotten and Pugh, even through the haze caused by smoke from forest fires near and far.

The final climb seemed very steep, but it was a pleasure to arrive in the lake basin, where flowers, heather, rock, scrub trees and many berry bushes surrounded several very pretty lakes. 'We stopped at the first lake for lunch and had it to ourselves. Several of our group swam over to a small island and relaxed there for a while among more blueberries. Others found a nice shady area to enjoy their lunch with the views. After lunch, several of us explored the other lakes then we all headed back. The descent on such a rough trail was brutal on the limbs, especially in the growing heat, but only added to the pleasure of having cold drinks and delicious snacks back at the trail head.

Submitted: 08/28/17
Article By: Himes, Rex

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