I had grand plans for this past weekend. Andy and I would leave work early Friday to drive to Mt Baker and spend the weekend at a perfect new campsite we would find. We'd roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, and go for at least one hike on Baker's colorful fall slopes. The forecast mentioned a small chance of rain Friday afternoon, but by the next morning and through the weekend there would be clear skies. Instead, it was rainy and cold from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. After a sleepless night and a morning spent huddled in our tent, we packed up early and headed home Saturday. So much for my plans.
Still wanting to get out for a hike, I spent Saturday night trying to choose a trail closer to home. In my disappointment over missing out on Mt Baker, I couldn't really get excited about anything, but settled on Lake Valhalla. We got a late start Sunday, and as we approached the Smithbrook road trailhead, we saw cars overflowing the lot at least a quarter mile in each direction. The trail would be packed! We decided at the last minute to continue down the road to Minotaur Lake, a shorter, much steeper trail that I've wanted to hike for a couple years. I am so glad we made that decision!
The hike up was probably the toughest 1.75 miles of trail I've ever hiked. Between the ascent and descent, my legs were sore all over for days afterward. All I can say is thank god for trekking poles! They make me feel like an old lady, but they definitely saved my knees on this hike. After the brief torture of the first mile, the trail levels off a bit for the last .75 miles, and then, suddenly you're at the lake.
The stillness and quiet of this lake were what I really loved. The views were beautiful, the sky was cloudless blue, but I most enjoyed feeling completely alone in nature at Minotaur Lake. There were a few other people at the lake, but it seemed like everyone was similarly hesitant to disturb the peace. After a quick lunch and a few minutes of soaking up the sun and the view, we headed back to the car. I got home happy and tired, my disappointment over Mt Baker entirely forgotten.