DISTANCE
9.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,480 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

hiking
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Decided to head upstairs to visit Rachel yesterday. Had forgotten how "fun" this trail is. Brushy, rocky, rooty stairs. I have never seen so many trilliums blooming at once! Snowmelt is turning the last mile or so up to the lake into a creek, so a change of socks is good to have. The actual trail to Rachel is almost snow free with the exception of a couple of large snow fields on the last ascent to the lake. Had the lake to myself when I arrived and took an hour to nap in the hammock and dry my feet.

Began my ascent up Rampart Ridge (took the spur trail to the right of the lake, left of the "toilet" sign), enjoying the shrinking view of Rachel below. Some very cool cloud iridescence, too! Lost the trail a couple of times heading up to the junction for Lila/Rampart Lakes, but was always able to find it again quickly. There are some tricky snow patches that make the trail a little difficult to follow, so a GPS/route finding skills come in handy.

Took a right at the junction for Lila Lake, heading north through some more snow fields. I saw several spots where people had post holed through in the boulder field just before the trail split for Alta Mountain/Lila Lakes. If you are headed up to Alta make sure you veer left at the cairn, instead of heading right to Lila Lakes. There are quite a few larger snow drifts remaining from this point on, as well as running water melting the snow from underneath, so use caution here! Note: I didn't make it to Lila Lakes this time around, but they still appear to be frozen over from my view above the ridge.

The trail is a pretty straightforward ridge climb up the peak, with stunning views all around. Enjoyed watching Rainier and Adams gradually come into view behind me as I ascended. The vegetation is lush and the blueberries/huckleberries will be bountiful here in a month or two! My favorite section up the ridge was blanketed by glacial lilies. The autumn colors up here are spectacular in September, but I was blown away by the bloom in June! Rare wildlife viewing -- a single pika sunning himself on a boulder.