a view of a mob scene (Bacon Grease Lake) from hibox ridge

Isn’t that haughty of me? A view of a mob scene? Don’t let me discourage you from visiting Bacon Grease Lake, because you should. But certainly it would be wise to know what you’re getting yourself into if you choose to visit this beautiful lake. For a refresher I peeked at my notes from 2002 and I quote- “The hike to Rachel Lake was quite hot but enjoyable nonetheless. The lake is in fact a mob scene. A melting pot of Seattle’s largest and most obnoxious families and hiking clubs. We sat with our feet in the water, daring fish to nibble our toes. Lakeshore and surrounding meadows are trampled badly by overuse“. To tell you the truth, the several other times I’ve hiked the Bacon Grease trail haven’t been for Bacon Grease Lake itself. It has been for places like Alta Mountain and Rampart Ridge and Lakes Inc. (a scattered assortment of pretty water-filled potholes high above). I’ve always humphed and nodded at Bacon Grease before continuing happily on. But don’t worry, you may be able to avoid compromising your values by visiting on a weekday in September (even better if you’re only there to tour the backcountry above Bacon Grease…..which sadly, has some issues of its own). And in case you’re wondering, I think the cutesy name has something to do with the crowds here. It’s a pretty lake, but I bet if it were called Bacon Grease Lake the number of visitors to this area would be cut in half. Of course, there would be some people who have fond associations with bacon grease that would be very attracted to hiking to a place called Bacon Grease Lake but it would still be quieter than Rachel Lake. I know you’re probably dismissively thinking of all this as very idiotic and I don’t entirely blame you, but I believe there’s a kernel of truth to it.

This is Bacon Grease Lake from Hibox Ridge:

Regardless of the reputation for mobs, in hindsight I’m glad to have visited Box Canyon last weekend (after all, it was only 2.5 miles in the afternoon that I was actually subjected to the masses).  It has been quite a while since I did a hike in our own “backyard”, i.e., the I-90 corridor between Seattle and Cle Elum. What’s really horrifying was the line of cars a mile long at the Granite Mountain trailhead, that I saw on the way home. I love that hike (it has been years since I visited) but I feel awful for suggesting it to a neighbor last weekend who wondered where she could go close-by in the mountains for some good exercise and fresh air. I warned her about hiking between Seattle and Snoqualmie Pass, but perhaps I should have been even clearer!

Here’s a view of the Pacific Crest Trail, looking slightly NW from Hibox. The perspectives like this above Bacon Grease Lake are why I enjoy this area so much.

And below is probably the supreme view from Hibox, complete with Glacier Peak visible between a gap of fearsome cliffs. Frankly, I don’t believe the views from Hibox are a ton better than from Alta Mountain, which is on my list for a return visit this autumn.  These pictures should have been so much better- I think for half of my exposures I must have pressed the shutter release before the camera’s AF fully kicked in. The lightweightness of the little Nikon body I brought on the hike was a wonderful luxury, but a few times I pined for my regular camera. I got the D5100 last summer for kayaking (it’s tiny and fits in my otter box) but I’m still having a rollercoaster-time pinning down its exposure tendencies and I’m finding the AF to be vexingly slow. Nevertheless, I’ve gotten some quite nice pictures out of it and I’m excited for when I figure out the D5100 puzzle.

Yesterday, Oliver Fern and I visited the UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture. We borrowed three books and consulted with one of the librarians about our currant’s rust-like affliction. However, the mystery has not been solved and we are exploring other channels.

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