September 6 we planned our last training hike before Mailbox Peak. We decided on a fairly easy hike to stretch out our legs and talk about our upcoming hike. Annette Lake is near North Bend Washington off the Denny Creek exit. The Annette Lake trail is roughly 7.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet. The lake sits at approximately 3,600 feet, which is pretty low for an alpine lake, which is why everyone says the lake is warm enough for swimming. Although I have seen a number of people swim in the upper elevation lakes and they are COLD!!
We were treated to another moody sky hike, with lowland fog, which is pretty common in the fall in our mountains. Sometimes it blows over and sometimes it does not. The nice part of morning fog is how it affects the sun rays when they shine through the trees. September is generally a really nice time to hike in Washington as the weather is still good. Not too hot (for us that means below 80) and not too cold (which means no hardcore rain).
This trail leads you through a forest on a pretty wide dirt trail. Most of the trail is in the forest, with just a couple breakouts into meadows. Not sure really why they call them meadows as its not like you are walking through bunch of flowers or anything. Not really even a large open space. But anyways….. The trail was pretty busy but most people were wearing masks.
We arrived at the lake along with what appeared to be another hundred or so hikers! We had to walk a bit around the lake to find a spot for all of us to relax. We were able to find a downed tree for us all to sit on and eat some lunch. We talked for several minutes about who was going to go in the lake for a swim. I waded in to my ankles and quickly decided that water was not the warmest alpine lake. It was roughly as cold as many of the others I have visited! No swimming for me! Donna and I sat on the log as Michelle and Cathi decided they would go for a swim. Judging by the sounds of their breath after they dove in, they did not think it was very warm either! Luckily we had some extra dry clothes for them to put on for the hike back.
I can see why this hike is so popular. It reminded me a lot of Lake Serene, but without the thousands of stairs and switchbacks! It’s an easy hike that you can do after work to get in some quick mileage and stretch out your legs.
After this we were on the 4 day countdown to Mailbox Peak!