Saturday, October 5, 2013

Central Cascades - Lake Valhalla Hike

Left: View of Lake Valhalla from the Pacific Crest Trail; Right: View of Lichtenberg Mountain from the Pacific Crest Trail.
 
In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic hall where some of those that die in combat go. On this particular day, we didn’t see many combat heroes or really much of anybody at the lake. We barely made it to the lake ourselves as the snow (from a previous week’s storm) was bit more than we were prepared for. We didn’t even get to have lunch by the lake because we couldn’t easily reach it. We ended up sitting under a large tree, away from the shore, that offered a bit of snow-free aread where we could easily spread out for lunch.

For the first 1/3 of this hike, you hear Route 2 which reduces the magic of the hike a bit. On the plus side, it was nice to get a chance to hike a piece of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I guess if we had hiked the trail, starting at the border of Mexico (like one man we met on our way back to the car), then, maybe “Valhalla” would have have a more poetic ring.

Speaking of PCT, we wondered why most people (or at least our sense is that most people) hike north on that Pacific Crest Trail. This article on Francis Tapon suggests that most people in fact do go north (“nobos”), but that there are benefits of going south (“sobos”).

In terms of flora, today’s hike seemed to be all about mushrooms, all colors and sizes and often peaking their heads out form the recent snow.

Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla: Brown, White, Yellow, Purple, and Red.
Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Creast Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla
Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla
Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Coast Trail to Lake Valhalla Nine Photos of of Mushrooms We Saw on the Pacific Crest Trail to Lake Valhalla

Hike Stats

Length: 11.6 miles
Duration: ~ 6 hours; we left the trailhead at 8:45 am and returned at 3:00 pm.
Elevation: Cumulative gain of 1,500 feet; we started 4,040 feet, peaked 5,050 feet.
Location: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass – West/
Notes: Our 9th hike of the season. Our total miles this season, including this hike, 106.9 miles.

Left: View of the Pacific Crest Trail from Stevens Pass to Lake Valhalla; Right: Sitka Mountain Ash (Sorbus sitchensis) Berries
View of the Pacific Crest Trail from Stevens Pass to Lake ValhallaSitka Mountain Ash (Sorbus sitchensis) Berries

Left: Rowan Over Nason Creek; Right: Pika on a Rock
Rowan Over Nason CreekPika on a RockPika on a Rock

Left: Reflection of Lake Valhalla with Snow; Center: Garmin Stats; Right: Lake Valhalla Trail Map (Google Earth)
Reflection of Lake ValhallaGarmin StatsLake Valhalla Trail Map (Google Earth)

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