Facing Cutthroat

10 08 2011

Another weekend fending for myself.  I decide to be braver this time, head into the mountains, take on the big peaks, leave the tame trails for the tourists and city folks.  I think I’ll head up Washington Pass!

You see, Friday night I had what some might consider a “mini melt-down”.  Snuggled down in bed with “Country Strong” playing on my laptop, the biggest freaking pair of legs skittered up on my screen.  Bolting up and flipping on the light revealed a monster spider bolting across my laptop keys.  Leaping up and screaming like a little schoolgirl, I dove for the nearest flip-flop ready for battle.  But the little bastard was quick and escaped under the bed.  As you can imagine, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

So Saturday, I needed out of the house.   A few practical voices in my head argued that we had a lot to do around the house, but those guys aren’t well liked and were duly ignored.  I set off down Highway 20, heading up Washington Pass, which I’ve been up once on Memorial Day when it was still blanketed in deep snow.  Justin had mentioned there were cool lakes up there, so I set off to find one.

At the top of the pass, I pulled off to the Blue Lake trailhead.  What a joke.  There wasn’t even an illegal place to park.  I immediately threw it in reverse and got the hell out of there.  In fact, there were so many idiot drivers, misbehaving cyclists, and super-slow bikers that I grew disgusted and angry and went home.  Forget that noise.  I took a nice 12 mile bike ride and rearranged furniture the rest of the day – in peace!  (No wonder its just me and the voices in my head…)

Sunday I was determined to give it another shot.  Back to Blue Lake found the parking area in much the same condition.  Scratch that; I’ll come back in the fall when all these people get out of my valley.  A little ways back towards Winthrop was the trailhead for Cutthroat.  That sounded nice and friendly, the parking lot at least had an open spot, and my now sore butt-cheeks were falling asleep from driving too long, so I parked.

Even from the parking lot, the views were incredible.  Cutthroat Peak (I think) looms above the trail and an awesome ridge line crosses the sky.  As I headed up the trail, I realized the tourists and city folks were up here, too.  That’s what I get for picking a trail right off the highway.  But the hiking was easy and the forest was pretty and the hoards of whining children were easy to pass (’cause I’m such a fast hiker, you know).

Cutthroat Creak, WA

I was a teeny bit sad to have missed the majority of the wildflowers and running water, but there were still some scattered scarlet gilias and a few streams of snow melt.  And before long, I was sweetly rewarded with a wonderful sight – Cutthroat Lake!  Shoving aside all nose-picking ankle biters, knocking a few middle-aged men off a log bridge, and hurdling a barking dog (or maybe just rushing down a slope, across a log, and past a little meadow), the trees opened to reveal the clear, sparkling waters.

Cutthroat Lake, WAI wandered around the lake a bit, munching on the snacks I had packed in my bag.  Up this high, the temperatures were pretty nice, the bugs weren’t too bad, and life was good.  I am sad to report that I didn’t make it up to Cutthroat Pass – I’m saving that one for next time.

Humming all the way down the trail I couldn’t help but think, “I’m not alone out here; I’ve always got my mountains.”

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