It was back to Chuckanut Mountain for me today for the long hike to Lost Lake – and back. Beginning at the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead parking lot, first I followed the Hemlock Trail.
For 1.2 miles, that trail winds its way through the forest as it climbs up the mountain until reaching the junction for the North Lost Lake Trail. I paused long enough to admire this falls alongside the Hemlock Trail.
From the Hemlock Trail, the North Lost Lake Trail continues the climb over Chuckanut Mountain in pretty much a north to south direction for approximately four miles. Reaching a maximum elevation of around 1,600 feet, it felt a long, steady climb, and I stopped in the sunshine at about the half-way point for a quick break of water and an apple.
The entire Chuckanut Mountain trail system seems very well marked at each trailhead with easy to read signs that indicate the distance to many popular hiking destinations – such as the Interurban Trail, Chuckanut Ridge Trail, Huckleberry Point, Madrone Crest, Raptor Ridge and Pine & Cedar Lakes. Well marked, that is, until just before Lost Lake!
Near Lost Lake there were two trail options – one to the left (east) and the other to the right (west), but the signs on the posts for each of those trails were gone. According to the Chuckanut Mountain trail map I carried in my backpack, the trail to the left continued to the shore of Lost Lake and the trail to the right followed along a ridge above the lake before it meandered down to Fragrance Lake and continued down the mountain, coming out at the Fragrance Lake trailhead along Chuckanut Drive near the main entrance to Larrabee State Park.
Since I had parked at the North Chuckanut Trailhead parking lot, not the Fragrance Lake parking lot, taking the trail to the right didn’t seem like where I wanted to go, so I took the trail to the left. At first the trail was easy to follow, but after about a quarter of a mile, it passed through several boggy, muddy areas where it was difficult to tell exactly where the trail continued once mucking through each stretch of mud. There were a couple of places where so many logs covered the trail that it was impossible for me to be able climb over, so I removed my backpack, pass it through and climbed under. I noticed several pink plastic ties on logs and trees and hoped that they marked the trail. I tried to follow them, but eventually could see no more of them once I reached a big, muddy bog that seemed impossible for me to cross. It was then that I realized that I had completely lost the trail.
My goal was Lost Lake. The lake appeared larger than Fragrance Lake on my map, and I had hiked to Fragrance Lake many times (see: http://really-rose.blogspot.com/search?q=fragrance+lake) with no difficulty. I expected hiking to Lost Lake would be just as easy, but obviously I was wrong. When I lost the trail to the muddy bog, I turned around and backtrack to the other trail that was missing its sign. This trail, just about as muddy as the other one, at least clearly followed the ridge, and gave me peek-a-boo views of Lost Lake.
Once having made several sightings of Lost Lake from up on the ridge, I turned around and began the long hike down the mountain to the North Chuckanut Trailhead parking lot. I was a rather muddy girl by then.
As I made the trek back, I was content that I had accomplished a great day of hiking even though I had not actually reached the shore of Lost Lake. I also knew that I will want to make the hike to Lost Lake again. Next time, maybe from the Fragrance Lake side, and most likely during the hot, dry part of summer – rather than the cool, wet early Spring.
My favorite part of the North Lost Lake Trail was a portion where a mossy falls feeds a creek that flows over the trail. The stream flowed right along the trail, crossed the trail, yet there were enough big rocks along that stream to make crossing easy. I recorded a video of that falls while I was there (go here – Waterfalls Over Trail) to view.