West Fork Foss River Lakes, 08/23/08-08/24/08

So far this summer Nicole and I have gone on six hikes together; the first three were all either one- or two-night backpacks; hikes four, five, and six were all day hikes.  So as the weekend approached and trip-planning began, like, for real, we knew we wanted to spend a night [tossing and turning within our sleeping bags].  Backpacking it would be, but since we only had Saturday night available, and I had to work Saturday morning, it couldn’t be a long drive or that long of a hike.  We also had to keep in mind that we’d probably be pitching our tent somewhere early Saturday evening, crux of the weekend populous.   I had my hands wrapped around a pair of Green Trails Maps (#175 & #176) and prior reports and pictures in my head.  Elimination claimed trails we hypothesized as too long, too difficult, too buggy, and too busy; those trips requiring off-trail travel were sadly stricken from the slate.

In the end, we decided to try our luck up the West Fork of the Foss River, along Trail #1064.  With four lakes sitting around the 4000’ mark, and all seemingly within reach from the 1600’ trailhead–the farthest being ~6.8 miles in–we were confident we’d find a place so settle down before the sun set.  This trail sits entirely within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and is easily reached off of US-2 via the Foss River Road (Road 68/6835).  Don’t ask me how–actually, I think it’s because I already had map in hand and read a recent report and therefore felt like I knew what to expect–but I neglected to check the USFS site until just now.  It calls the trail “severely flood damaged,” characterizes the difficulty as “Easiest/Most Difficult,” and states that visitor use is “Extra Heavy.”  I’ll try to elaborate on all that throughout the rest of this trip report, but let me preemptively say it isn’t quite so bad as that.

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