Lake Serene Hike
Saturday July 29 2006
Melanie picked this hike because the photo in the hiking book (Beyond Mount Si) shows Lake Serene surrounded by snow and ice - at the time it was almost 100 degrees in Seattle, so this sounded like a good choice. By the time the weekend rolled around, and we actually did the hike, it had cooled off a lot and it was overcast. This was ideally hiking weather because Lake Serene trail is rated Strenous, with 2200 feet of gain in the 7.4 mile round trip distance. We also climbed up the extra half mile side trail to the Bridal Veil falls viewpoint. There has been a tremendous amount of energy put into maintaining this trail, with boardwalks and staircases, nevertheless, there are plenty of rocky stretches where you must watch your feet at each step, so this slowed us down a bit.
The first half of the trail is in dense forest, shady and cool. When we reached the split, we took the side trail ascending to the Bridal Veil Falls, which is a pretty steep climb, but it gets you right up close to the base of the falls. I think there are actually four sets of falls, and this side trail takes you to the middle set. The falls are quite nice, and I imagine in early spring when the meltwater runoff is the strongest that the falls must create quite a mist storm.
After descending back to the main trail, we soon came to the bridge which crosses the stream just below the lowest set of Bridal Veil Falls. This is the end of the easy hiking, beyond that point there is a lot of switchbacks. Again, there are more staircases to help with the many steep sections of the trail.
I didn't expect Lake Serene to be so nice. The picture in the hiking book is just a black and white photo. My color photos here give a better sense of what a magnificent site this is, it is well worth a visit if you can make the hike. We had just visited Glacier National Park a couple of weeks earlier, and Lake Serene is just the kind of wonderful scenery you see in that park. There is a big Lunch Rock for sitting by the water at the end of the trail. We thought we could hear a waterfall draining into the lake from somewhere off of Mount Index, but we didn't see one.
Overall, I think the hike took us about 5 hours, including my innumerable stops for photos and lollygagging at the top to admire the view. We grabbed some lunch at Baring and then headed over to the trail head for Barclay Lake.
I took a series of photos at the lake shore, and then used the PhotoStitch software that comes with the Canon S2 camera to merge the series of shots into one big panorama. I think a total of 8 photos are used in this composite image. It is impressive how well that software works, piecing these together so seemlessly.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full panorama - file size for this big picture is about 900K bytes
Click on any thumbnail to open photo in new window
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