Wallace Lake: An Unexpected Winter Wonderland

Wallace Lake: An Unexpected Winter Wonderland

By: Shelby February 17, 2013 10:10 pm 4 comments

Last Sunday, our friends wanted to go on our first big hike of the year, so we all chose Wallace Falls State Park. As we mentioned in this post, it’s one of our favorite nearby spots. The park really has it all. The waterfalls are magnificent, but this time we wanted something different. We decided to trek to the north end of the park, to Wallace Lake.

wallacefalls

For this hike, we were prepared: I carried my new REI 18 flash pack, filled with food, drink, extra layers, and my new ultralight butterfly chair to relax in at the top. Spenser packed the same between his Osprey daypack and Camelbak. We head out from Seattle around 10am, and arrived about an hour later. The parking lot was surprisingly empty, considering how beautiful of a day it was. On our previous visit, we had to circle the parking lot a few times before we were able to snag a spot. This time, there were only 8 or 9 other cars. We skipped along down the trail, under the crackling power lines, so excited to be outside and hiking.IMG_9957

We entered the forest and started down the Woody Trail. The trail followed along the rushing Wallace River, and dips down and climbs up multiple times until the trail reaches the confluence of the North and Main forks of the river. This is where we found our next path, the Greg Ball Trail, which climbed steadily uphill to the north. The sound of the rushing river died away, and we hiked into beautiful silence. We were the only group on the trail. The trail climbed easily upwards, but since this was our first real hike in months, we took it fairly slowly and took a snack/foot massage break every so often.

Wallace River running along Woody Trail

Wallace River running along Woody Trail

Eventually, the rushing of the river came back, breaking the silence, and we came upon the first snow on the trail. I had read that there was some snow, so I was anticipating this moment. We climbed up and up, and the amount of snow grew and grew. Eventually, snow covered the trail, but the going was still easy. We put back our layers that we had stripped off before and trudged on, hurling the occasional snowball at each other. IMG_0095

Then we came out of the forest and into the bright light, as well as waist deep in snow. We had reached the DNR (Dept. Natural Resources) road that marked the end of the Greg Ball Trail, and were so close to the lake! We checked the map to see which direction to go, and started finding the packed snow (and doing much postholing), and trekking towards the next trailhead. The going was tough and slow, with lots of falling over, but we eventually made it to the home stretch. It was amazing how dark the trail seemed after being out in the open snow. The new trail was quiet, and we powered down it to get to this mythical lake. Again, the snow started piling up like before, and we trudged through, until finally, we saw it! It was amazing! It was beautiful! There was so much snow! The entire lake was frozen over, and snow was piled up everywhere. There was no way we were getting around this lake. We explored the top a little bit, going a little distance in each direction to see which spot would have the best vista. Eventually, we found a decent spot. Our friends threw down their poncho and collapsed on the ground. Spenser and I packed down the snow and put our REI Flex Lite Chairs together. After much rearranging and repacking of snow, we were all resting comfortably, eating our snacks, letting the victory beers chill in the snow, and enjoying the view. I had never seen a completely frozen lake before. We watched the clouds that were moving up along the tops of the hills, and marveled at the new frost they were leaving on the trees. The only other group that had been there when we arrived had long left (who wears shorts in the snow??), so all was blissfully quiet.

Wallace Lake

Wallace Lake


Finally, we were all getting cold, and we had a long hike back down, so we packed it up and started retracing our footsteps through the snow. Once we got back to the trail and out of the snow, we flew down the mountain and to the car. We practically floated down on the hope and dream of the heavenly barbecue that awaited us on the way back home. TOO BAD THERE WAS NONE. Dang skiers and snowboarders coming from Stevens Pass beat us to it, and Old School BBQ was all sold out. Oh well, next time!

This hike ended up being about 10 miles long, which means it’s our longest hike ever! I don’t have an exact mileage count for the whole day, because my phone died halfway through so I lost my Runkeeper tracking. Overall, it was a fairly easy trail, except for the snow at the top. Snowshoes would have been helpful! This was also my first time using my trekking pole, which totally saved my knees on the way down. This hike remains one of our favorites. I highly recommend it!

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