We capped off the day with sushi that arrived on conveyor belts. What better way to refuel post-hike than with sushi that magically appears before you and prior to that, a Cascadian Farms ice cream made from fresh fruit?? Indeed, I did just this after returning from the North Cascades Hidden Lake Lookout with a yogini pal in August.
This is one trail where you realize that even if you are hardcore by east coast standards, you are really just mediocre at best by PNW standards. And by “you,” I mean “me.” From the trailhead, the trail enters an old growth forest and ascends before entering alpine meadow that was recently popping with wildflowers. And steeply ascending via switchbacks. It’s entirely possibly that the wildflowers were still wildly popping, but I was too busy trying to breathe to notice. La Yogini, on the other hand, was in decent shape, so she oohed, ahhed, and WOWed at the scenery for the both of us as we trekked out of the meadow, scooted over slide scree, contoured around the mountain, avoided snow bridges, moved up a boulder field and finally, kicked up a snowfield to find….a hidden lake! And a 300 foot climb from there, stood the cutest lookout ever, and where two of my friends spent the night several yeas ago. Views were amazing; they would have been super amazing if the skies were clearer.
The trail is out and back, and even though we saw everything on the way up, it’s just as stunning on the return. Once at the trailhead, I lamented that the Cascadian Farms stand was probably closed…it was, after all, close to 6pm. Never fear, folks, it’s open until 8pm in the summer.