Genevieve and I decided on a backpack to Lake Waptus for Memorial Day Weekend. It is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We met late Friday evening and started backpacking. We got in a few miles and camped for the night. It was not a nice camp, but a lot cheaper than a motel. The following day we backpacked on in to the lake.
Upon arriving at the lake we were greeted with a clear day and a good view of Bears Breast Mountain. It looks like a hard climb - and nothing like a bears breast. Of course, if we used names like "Hard To Climb Mountain" then you could never tell one major peak in Alpine Lakes from another.
The following day we hiked up to Deep Lake. As we approached the lake the snow got deeper and deeper. But, being the spring in the Cascades, it consisted of an inch or two of extra soft snow coating very hard snow. The area was level enough that we didn't have much trouble. After a break at Deep Lake the hike up toward the pass was on a somewhat south facing slope and thus clear of snow. It also provided a nice view of the lake.
After visiting the ridge and finding the far side buried in snow we headed over toward Peggy's Pond. The trail traverses across a steep, loose, rocky, and exposed slope. Which was followed by climbing snow like the aforementioned but on a steep slope. Despite a valiant effort to make to the pond for lunch we instead stopped at a small pond a bit lower down. Lacking a better name I call it Peggy's Puddle.
After a restorative lunch we pressed onward to Peggy's Pond. While the pond was quite cold and snow covered the day was only a little cool.
An intrepid group was camped on the only clear spot nearby. Which is exactly the sort of thing I might do if I wasn't accompanying a wonderful girlfriend instead. Remember: it is best not to camp at a place like this when taking your girlfriend on her first backpack (unless she is from somewhere like Greenland).
The surrounding area was beautiful, if a bit snow covered. I assume that the group camped here was climbing the nearby peaks, but I don't know. They may also have been doing a last ditch ski trip before spring, or training for snow travel.
The hike back across the loose slope is not as easy when you are tired, and it was actually a bit worse than how it looks in this picture. While experienced hikers (myself included) will happily scamper across this, it is important to remember that beginning hikers are not used to this sort of thing and might need to take it slow.
Beginning hikers don't get any happier if you tell them to just tilt their head until the ground seems level.
Genevieve handled the trip well, but her expression quickly explains what she thinks of crossing slippery slopes when tired. It didn't help that it was still a long hike back to the camp.
The following morning the lake was very pleasant, providing a nice sendoff for the hike back to the cars.