Dip in Melakwa Lake

For months we have been trying to swim at an alpine lake but the waters have always been too cold. The summer months are quickly speeding by and we are rapidly running out of time to get that swim in before the cold fall rains arrive, so we figured for our first hike of September we might as well try again. We chose Melakwa Lake near Snoqualmie Pass as our destination and set off on a bright warm Saturday.

Above-the-Greenery

Highway sounds from above?

The trail starts a few miles west of the pass at the Denny Creek Campground, between the split eastbound and westbound sections of I-90. However, we didn’t realise we would be in this section of the highway’s vicinity until we heard a significant amount of traffic noise above us. We were very startled as we looked up and saw the massive structure towering right next to us.

Under-the-Highway

Under the Highway

While driving this section of I-90 you feel like you are much closer to the hillside and nowhere near as high off the ground. It was really neat seeing the roadbed from this new vantage point, and it made for a few awesome pictures.

Over-the-Falls

Keekwulee Falls

After losing the finally persistent highway sound and passing a few waterfalls we reached Melakwa Lake and our long awaited mountain swim.

Into-the-Lake

Hoping for warm waters

Sections of the trail were exposed and quite steep, so we were very warm and ready for a dip when we arrived. However, there were signs the weather was turning. We quickly changed into our swimsuits as the wind started to pick up and ominous clouds began to build above the peaks, creating interesting shadows dancing around us.

Amidst-the-Peaks

Thunderstorm coming?

We had made it this far and were not about to let a little wind stop us, so we jumped (slowly waded) into the lake. Between the snow fed stream water and the chilly gusts it was not the most enjoyable experience, especially after completely dunking ourselves. At least we can now say we went swimming (shivering movements count) in a mountain lake this summer.

Over-the-Slopes

Cooling down the mountains

While the weather did make our trek down significantly colder it turned out no storm ever showed itself that day, which was just as well for us. We had already experienced enough cold water on our bodies for one afternoon and were very glad no rains came. While we did finally have our swimsuits with us we forgot our rain gear.

Toward-the-Trees

From the ground up…

Just before reaching the parking area I was summoned to take some pictures of a group of trees from the ground’s perspective. I happily obliged and ended up getting a great image from a unique angle. Taking these last few photos was a great idea that I would not have thought of, which is one reason why having another set of eyes (and thus potential photos) when you’re out can be a great help. Everyone sees things a little differently, opening you up to beautiful images otherwise missed.

Photos taken 1 September, 2014 with a Nikon D7100

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Ian Faulds

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