Hiked On: December 26, 2004
Weather Conditions: Fog in Higher Elevations, approximately 43°F
Distance from Seattle: 60 miles
Forest Service: Trail #702, Darrington Ranger District
Diann & I picked up this hike also based on a recommendation from the same book as we used in the last two weeks' hikes ( Winter Hikes in Puget Sound & the Olympic Foothills: Mostly Snow-Free Trails from Lowland Forests to Summit Views , ISBN 1570611491). The hike was approximately 5.4 miles round trip on some improved trails. The aforementioned book claims it is a “moderate” difficulty hike (compared to last weeks “easy / moderate”), but I disagree. Compared to this hike, the last week's hike was a cake-walk. The USFS claims it is a “More Difficult” hike. The elevation change (approx. 1400' in 2.7 miles) doesn't seem like much, but I'd guess that about 25% or more of this hike was flat. The slopes were relatively steep, with the most difficult being several switchbacks up and across a talus slope. Thankfully, Diann & I picked up new hiking boots and other miscellaneous keep-yourself-warm gear at REI last week. This hike also demonstrated to us the wonders of layering clothes. At the trailhead, we started in gloves, hats, jackets, sweaters and scarves. By the time we hit the top, only the sweaters were left (well, and pants/socks/shoes/etc., of course). Lake Twenty-Two is a bit of an experiment for the US Forest Service — in January 1947, it was deemed off-limits for logging/development/touching to study the long-term effects of unmanaged vs. managed forests. Going to Lake Twenty-Two is definitely a step back in time — old growth forest, tons of huge Western Red Cedars, beautiful waterfalls throughout the climb, etc. — and proves to me that managed forests (managed by logging companies with interests that fly against the concept of a forest) have nothing on unmanaged ones. The trail follows Twenty-Two Creek the entire way up from the trailhead to the lake. Unfortunately, when we got to the lake (at the top), it was fogged in where we couldn't see beyond 10' or so. The climb down made the entire trip worth it — the fog cleared and we saw several peaks in a nearby range (maybe this will teach me to pick up some of topo maps soon so I can identify these peaks, but I believe it's Three Fingers and Liberty Mountain). This was the first hike that we've actually encountered other hikers on the trail — we even encountered a few heading up as we were reaching the trailhead as dusk fell; several websites claim that the trail is extremely popular in the summer, and it looks as though it gets its share of use in the winter as well. It took us approximately 1 hour to get to the trailhead from Seattle and about 3.5 hours of solid (and exhausting) hiking to do the round-trip.