77 – Lewis Lake, Heather Pass and Lake Ann Overlook (Day 2 – Heather-Maple Pass Loop Backpacking Trip)

Morning greated us with clear skies, a trace of snow and clouds in the valley below our camp. Sipping coffee and eating oatmeal from a porch made of giant rocks, I watched in amazement as the forested wilderness in the valley floor slowly came into view as those clouds climbed up and then disappeared.

(pic by Kent) Morning at camp

In no time that blanket of snow was gone, so we set our sights on hiking to Lewis Lake, a tiny looking lake barely visible from camp.

Day hike to Lewis Lake

A small footpath led us from camp to the edge of a talus slope where the occasional cairn marked the tedious route meandering through its miles and miles of boulders. Spending a good hour working our way over those jagged rocks had not gotten us even close to the shore of Lewis Lake, so once we realizied just how far away that lake was and the effort it would take to get there, we turned around and and worked our way back to camp.

(pic by Kent) Talus Slope on the way to Lewis Lake

Camping is not allowed on Heather Pass itself, so as we hiked over the pass the evening before, we took a side trail that had dropped us down a little below the pass in order to find a suitable campsite. We had not been able to enjoy much of a view when we were at the pass as it had been snowing (see: Hike 76 – Heather Pass – Setting Up Camp), so after lunch we decided to hike back up to the pass to have a look around. Back at Heather Pass, the view of distant mountain peaks was incredible in the afternoon sun.

Day hike to Heather Pass

Then we hiked back to get yet another look at Lake Ann.

(pic by Kent) Day hike to view Lake Ann

The remainder of the afternoon was spent lazing around at camp. With the total distance for this entire three-day backpacking trip set to log in at just over 10 miles with an approximate 2,000 foot elevation gain up (then back down), I appreciated an afternoon of reading and relaxing.

Back at camp . . . reading and relaxing

The days are getting shorter with the sun setting earlier and earlier each day this time of year, so with headlamps, we were ready for another night at camp.

Headlamps on . . . ready for night

Stay tuned, there is more to come! Day three finds us greeted with a brilliant sunrise as we pack up camp and continue on our way. Meeting up with members of the very active Skagit Audubon Society Hiking Group, we complete the loop along the Heather-Maple Pass Trail.

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