With all the hiking Andy and I did over the summer, I've hardly had time to edit the photos I've taken, let alone write posts. Thankfully, now that fall and rainy weekends have arrived, I finally have some time to catch up, starting with a lovely, laid back weekend we spent at Greenwater Lakes and Lost Lake in late July. The six mile trail is gentle for the first two miles until you reach the second Greenwater Lake. Over these first two miles, we passed many families with young kids out for a short, easy backpacking trip. There was a bit of added excitement at the first stream crossing, where the log bridge has been damaged by winter storms. Even though the bridge was tilting rather awkwardly, it was clearly the safest option for crossing Greenwater River, and we managed to make it across without incident. I read that two weeks after our hike, the Washington Trails Association took a work crew to reset the bridge, which would have been an impressive feat to watch, or better yet, participate in!
This hike didn't have much in the way of the grand panoramic views I've been seeking out lately, but I'm so glad Andy chose it! What the trail lacked in large-scale views, it more than made up for in flora and fauna. On our hike in to the lakes, we found what was possibly the coolest fungi either of us had ever seen. When Hydnellum peckii is mature they look pretty unremarkable, but the young fungus ooze a red fluid that looks remarkably like blood, hence the common name "bleeding Hydnellum." Andy was especially excited about this fungus, and we were both amazed when I looked it up on the drive home and learned that while it's far too bitter to be edible, the extremely toxic looking mushroom is not poisonous. For once, Andy was the one holding us up on the trail taking too many photos!
Even with the fungus break, we made good time on the easy trail and made it to Lost Lake early in the afternoon. We even arrived early enough to snag what we agreed was the best campsite on the lake! After setting up camp, we both found comfortable logs to lounge against and settled in for an afternoon of reading in the shade. We watched the resident geese circle the lake, and kept an eye out for fish, but didn't see any surfacing. By sunset, a brisk wind was blowing in from the lake and it was downright cold, so we ate a quick dinner, then retreated to the tent for a little more reading.
It was still cold when we crawled out of the tent the next morning, so we warmed ourselves by packing quickly and heading back for home. Along the way we made a stop to explore nearby Quinn Lake, and while venturing out on a log floating in the lake, I stumbled upon a sleeping river otter! He woke and gave me a good long stare, but didn't seem bothered until Andy climbed out onto the log as well, at which point he slipped into the water with barely a splash and vanished under the water. Soon enough he resurfaced, and we watched as he swam around the tiny lake. Eventually he must have tired of his audience, and he disappeared again, giving us the motivation to continue our hike back to the trailhead. The hike from Quinn Lake back to the car was much less exciting, but this was truly a trip I won't soon forget!