Random Jaunt Turned Into One of the Best Hikes Ever!
Wow! That’s what we thought when we decided to take a “quick” hike in the Cascades region one afternoon. We only had about half a day left in the Cascades and the drive along along Highway 20 was already a scene overload. However, we wanted to at least get a short hike in. We chose the Heather Maple Pass Loop, suggested to us by local friends, and we weren’t even sure if we would do the whole thing when we started it. Once we started, however, we couldn’t stop!
We started at the trailhead off of Highway 20. It was slightly confusing if we were at the right spot. It’s tucked back around the loop in this parking area.
Ascend! Beginning the Hike, Veer Right
Since this is a loop, you can veer left or right to start the hike. We recommend veering right. The first part of the hike is alot of uphill ascent, with less downhill climbing at the end.
So, we began. The first portion of the hike is fairly wooded and uphill. It felt good to be out stretching our leg after putting many miles in driving. We still didn’t know what was in store for us.
Amazing Lake Colors, Take a Detour
After a while, the trail began to open up a bit more and impressive vistas came into sight. We started to see mountain views in the distance and eventually beautiful glistening lakes.
Then, as we gained elevation, blue-green waters appeared. We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day, making these lake waters glow on blue sky day. We had a peach and took in the view. It was truly paradise. And there was more to come!
As an option, if you have time, you can take a short detour down to the lakeshore.
Views at the Pass are Unmatched!
Once we got the the highest elevation of this trail, we were awarded with distant views of glacial capped mountains of the Cascades. These were impressive, breath-taking views. There were wildflowers everywhere. There were some snow patches, with which we stuck with tradition and built a snowman. Actually, I built a snowman and Ramsey stacked rocks. We had to leave our mark.
After taking in some of the most impressive scenery both of us have ever seen, we decided we needed to start the descent. It was, after all, getting late in the day. After descending a good distance, I realized I left my sunglasses near the snowman creation and had to climb back uphill to go get them! This was tiring. I thought all the uphill was done…and I had to hurry for the sake of time. I grabbed them and descended back down to Ramsey and we carried a rather fast pace down a pretty steep descent.
Descend! A lot of Downhill & Some Exciting Wildlife
On the way down we were pretty lucky with an animal siting! Down over a cliff, we spotted a large brownish creature with a distinctive pattern on it’s back. It was too small to be a bear, but bigger than a weasel or beaver. Sooo, we determined there is a very high chance this was a Wolverine. It fit the profile. Wow, what a lucky siting!
This day couldn’t have been better. We spent the rest of the evening talking about this hike and still reminisce today. We’ll be heading back to hike it again in 2016. It’s just that good!