Playing on rock on Hidden Lake Peaks

I celebrated my final required hike for the Mountaineers scrambling course I’ve been taking by posing for a photo.

I was perched on a skinny little rock at 7,088 feet at the top of Hidden Lakes Peaks North. I was feeling rather pleased with myself. I’ve gained a lot of skills since I started the course.

Then the woman leading the trip teasingly pointed out my white knuckles.

OK, so maybe I’m still not 100 percent comfortable on high perches.

Still, her joking made me relax enough to let go.

For this trip, we hiked up the Hidden Lake trail off of Highway 20. The trail ultimately ends at a lookout on the south peak, but our goal was the north peak.

The trail is beautiful. It passes through forest for about a mile or so before opening up into a wide gully. It switchbacks up, the views getting better by the minute. The flowers are blooming, and look like they’re going to keep getting better. We saw many butterflies and several hummingbirds. We also saw marmots. Adorable, adorable marmots.

The trail wanders through thick, lush meadows. It’s fascinating to watch the vegetation change as you climb. It was easy to see that many areas had snow very recently.

The snow is melting quickly in this heat, but the trail is still covered in many places. We had our ices axes and pulled them out many times. If you take this trip, I strongly suggest not crossing the first snow field. It looks like it’s going to melt through soon. We went below it, which seemed a safer route.

The melting snow means there are many little streams tumbling happily down the slopes. No shortage of water on this trail right now. And it’s blissfully cold.

Eventually, we turned off from the trail and scrambled up toward our peak. It was a good mix of rock and snow. The snow felt good on such a hot day.

The final approach to the peak is all rock, and it’s fun. I had a blast scrambling around like a kid. I’m still no mountain goat, but I’m getting better.

The view from the top was stunning. We could see Glacier Peak, Mount Baker (mostly; it was partially hidden in clouds) and Mount Shuksan. We could also see down to Hidden Lake, which was larger than I’d expected and still almost completely covered in snow.

If you’d like to do this hike, I’d wait awhile until the snow has cleared out, unless you’re comfortable using an ice ax. I can’t recommend the hike enough, though. It was a gorgeous trip.

If you’d like, you can continue all the way up to the lookout on the south peak. You can even stay there, if you’re lucky enough to be the first group to arrive. Word is it’s pretty posh for a lookout.

WTA has a great write-up of the trail here. That’s also a good spot to check for trip reports to give you an idea of how much snow is on the trail.

I am now done with my scrambling requirements for the Mountaineers course. All that’s left is trail maintenance and the wilderness first aid course. I’m both looking forward to that course and dreading it. I hear there’s a lot of fake blood in the practice sessions.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mountaineers, click here.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Bustling Dublin offers big-city sights and Irish charm

The dynamic city has a great story to tell, and people who excel at telling it.

Most Read