Tour Of the Lakes
We parked at the Margret Mountain/Lake Trailhead. The folks I went with had been to Rampart Lakes a number of times, and wanted to see some of the other lakes in the area. Personally, I've never been to any of them, so I had no problem seeing more in one trip than I originally thought. Margret Lake wasn't too exciting, Twin Lakes was the next one on the way, also not spectacular, but nice. From there the trail went fairly steeply up to Lillian, which is much bigger and more interesting, but on labor day weekend, was CHOKED with tourists, I mean a real crowd! We stopped for snacks, and made our way up the HORRIFIC steep, nasty, slippery trail up around the lake to the ridge, where I shot this picture.
Its difficult to describe how vicious that section of trail is, if you've done it, you understand. Luckily, its not too long, and you DO gain A LOT of elevation very quickly. Nice views of Rainier from the top.
Now, we followed the ridge, and you come upon some smaller lakes/tarns, which I don't believe are named. One of them had a large and friendly frog in it.
We were happy to drop our packs at the third and highest small lake, which was at the base of Rampart Ridge. Our plan was to hop over to Rampart lakes the next day, which we did. We got to camp fairly early, so we went up the ridge to see what we could see, take pictures, etc. We were quickly treated to a nice view of the Rampart Lakes:
And on the way back down, we counted no less than 6 hang-gliders swooping around the ridges!
So, back down to camp for dinner and cocoa. I think all the other trips this year helped, because I still had enough energy to go up another steep ridge, for sunset pictures. Which was very much worth it. As Rainier was very visible, though the alpenglow was unspectacular from this angle.
While waiting for the sun to start exploding colors, we walked around on the ridge, and scrambled up the highest point on Rampart Ridge, which I have dubbed Rampart Peak, a nice little class 3 scramble.
Then we went back to our little spot where all the camera's were. Terrifying exposure on one side, easily a 1000 foot sheer face, but a great place for pictures.
Sunset started, to be honest, I like being farther north in the cascades, especially for sunsets, due to the abundance of rocky peaks, unlike down here in the I-90 corridor, not as many rocky peaks here.....
OH, almost forgot, I took this panorama as the sun was approaching the horizon, pretty cool lighting I thought....
Anyway, back to camp, which means NIGHT SHOTS of course!
Approx. 10 minute exposures on these two:
The next day was great, perfect weather, lots of sunburns and such. Went up over the ridge, stopped at Rampart Lakes for water and relaxation, and to oogle at the pretty girls camped there.
Went on to Lila lake, not too exciting, but much more gorgeous than the lakes on the trip here, I think it would need to be a destination on its own to be appreciated fully, as we were fairly tired and didn't go down to the water. On the way back, saw about a million marmots and chipmunks and.....PIKAS!!!
Very cool. Anyhow, we had intended to stay until monday, but we got back to camp full of energy and not so full of food or patience. So we headed out, and cheated too, we took the Laura Lake trail out, which is VERY steep, and VERY short, then walked on the forest road back to the car, making for a very long day, but it was worth it.
All in all a great place, I wonder why I hadn't gone there sooner. But I still prefer the Mountain Loop Highway, sorry I-90.