We decided to start things out right with a solid breakfast of bacon and made from scratch banana pancakes before heading out on a hike. We packed our backpacks with roughly 20 pounds of gear (continuing to train for our upcoming backpacking trip to Ireland) and headed out with Latigo in tow. Bobby found this hike while visiting one of our favorite trip report websites, Hiking with my Brother, it was their “Hike of the Week”. With 2200 feet of elevation gain and 11 miles total trip distance we thought the Granite Lakes Trail would be an excellent choice to continue the mission of getting ourselves into shape. With temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s predicted throughout the Cascades and no clouds in sight we had high hopes of clear, clean, and snow-free trails. We were almost right… Almost.

The trail has been greatly transformed from the old forest road it used to be. It was clear that trail crews have been working extensively on this trail. New, large benches carved out of old downed logs and stumps were regular encounters along the trail up until the crossing of Granite Creek.

A quick stop at one of the newly created benches along the trail.
A quick stop at one of the newly created benches along the trail.

The river crossing is also undergoing a transformation, with a new railing.

Latigo testing out one of the new benches at the river crossing
Latigo testing out one of the new benches at the river crossing
Sweet Bench
Sweet Bench
Crossing Granite Creek
Crossing Granite Creek

The path was, overall rocky but dry until, with only about a mile left until the turnaround point, we reached 2400 feet and the snow began to creep its way onto the trail. Until we found ourselves traversing 5-6 foot high piles of snow in between small stream crossings.

Latigo was loving the snow, unlike his human companions!
Latigo was loving the snow, unlike his human companions!
Climbing up the snow to continue on the trail
Climbing up the snow to continue on the trail
Made it to the top of the snow!
Made it to the top of the snow!
Almost to the turnaround point!
Almost to the turnaround point!
Descending the snow trail to cross a stream and then ascend the next snow trail.
Descending the snow trail to cross a stream and then ascend the next snow trail.
Cooling off
Cooling off
Bobby at the acme of our hike!
Bobby at the acme of our hike!
Headed back down the snowy path.
Headed back down the snowy path.

The hot conditions made for slushy snow. Luckily, we didn’t posthole often. It actually only happened once. We were making our way back down the trail after having finally reached the lakes after enduring an excruciating hour of hiking through slush at a, somewhat, steep incline. I was following Bobby and stepped right were he had but the snow couldn’t hold me. I went down. Down to my waist into the snow. I think my pack stopped me from falling further in. My right leg was dangling, the ground still a couple of feet away and with the added weight of my pack I couldn’t get myself up. Bobby pulled me out and onto more solid snow. After my initial shock, and rather girlish scream, the laughter set in.

The hole I fell in
The hole I fell in

We continued the hike out, I had a soggy right leg but was, thankfully, unscathed. We hadn’t brought along gaiters and were wearing shorts because of the heat, which meant that our boots were common hosts to clumps of slushy snow. Bobby was leading the majority of the way, as he usually does, and his boots were soon full of snow and water. As we made it to dry, clear land he decided to take a break and wring his socks out before continuing on. Luckily, I had packed an extra pair of socks, and while a little small for him, he was able to swap out socks.

Taking a break to empty the snow from our boots.
Taking a break to empty the snow from our boots.
Latigo looking out over Granite Creek
Latigo looking out over Granite Creek
Dry land!
Dry land!

This trail wasn’t a particularly good choice for that weekend because of the snow that still covered the trail. The lakes are, I’m sure, more than scenic in the summer months but as of yet they are still completely covered in snow. It was a rather anticlimactic turnaround point. The trek down was fairly uneventful and we made it back to the car without further incident.

A quick stop at Granite Creek
A quick stop at Granite Creek

Our pace was slow on this trail averaging only 2 miles per hour and taking longer than expected, our total trip time ended up being 6 hours.

Granite Lakes Trail 5/4/13 at EveryTrail

Granite Creek
Granite Creek
Thankful to be almost back to the car!
Thankful to be almost back to the car!
Hiking out
Hiking out
Hot Dog!
Hot Dog!

Overall, the day was a success, we didn’t let the snow stop us from reaching our destination, but, we were disappointed at how exhausted we were after only doing 11 miles. With the knowledge that our first day in Ireland is 15 miles we knew that we should really push ourselves tomorrow to do more mileage than we have ever done before.

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About the author


I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.

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