Forum Index > Trip Reports > Silver Lake and Silver Ridge 08-15 & 16-09 (Olympics)
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Ancient Ambler
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Location: Bainbridge Island
Ancient Ambler
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PostMon Aug 17, 2009 7:00 am 
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With my daughter in town for a few days and a forecast calling for sunny skies in the mountains, opted for an intense-view destination:  Silver Ridge just south of Silver Lake via the Silver Lake way trail.  This is a trip that Schmidt Altidude and Babe did a couple years ago on July 4, and it is well worth the effort.  Lots of opportunities for high ridge walks from this location.

Took off fairly late in the morning on Saturday, after viewing clear skies over the Olympics in the National Weather Services sat images, although still some clouds over the eastern Olympics.  Clear skies by the time we reached Gardiner, but skies got grayer the farther we followed pot-holed FR 2860 toward the Silver Lake way trail.  By the time we reached the unmarked TH, skies overhead and to the south were totally overcast.

Only a couple of cars at the TH.  We were headed for a dry campsite, so I was packing a couple gallons of water in anticipation of hot, sunny weather. I had a heavy load and my daughter had not been hiking or above sea level for a long time, so we took our time ascending the rough way trail toward its intersection with the main Silver Lake trail from the Mount Townsend trail.  Blueberries were out not too far from the TH.

Silver Lake way trail
Silver Lake way trail
Crossing Silver Creek
Crossing Silver Creek
Blueberry time
Blueberry time

The last time I'd come up the way trail we had to pick our way through through scores of jack-strawed blowdowns, but some kind souls have cut the trail clear through that disaster zone.  There are still a few blowdowns to scramble on the way trail, but no big problems.  The higher we went, the worse the weather got.

Before we reached Silver Lake, we were in dense fog, so dense we could hardly see the lake from the trail skirting its eastern shore and certainly could not see the western shore.  Our destination was the 6000 foot ridge south of Silver Lake, and there are a couple of way trails that head from the lake up to the 5800 foot col south of the lake.  One way trail takes off from the lake shore about midway along the east shore, but small alpine trees crowd that trail.  To avoid getting soaked walking through those trees, we went to the southeast corner of the lake and picked up another way trail that avoids the trees and intersects the other way trail above the treees.

Silver Ridge way trail
Silver Ridge way trail

It was very foggy and cold at the col, and we followed the ridge east and up from there and picked out a campsite on the ridge at about 6000 foot elevation.  Visibility was a hundred feet or so.  No wind, but that was about to change.

Silver Ridge campsite
Silver Ridge campsite

Read for a while, ate some dinner, went to sleep early, only to be awakened around 9PM by wind pounding the tent.  Popped outside for a while and the temp had dropped markedly.  Wind was gusting from the north, and the clouds were clearing, allowing views of Constance, Inner Constance and Warrior to the southwest.

Constance past sundown
Constance past sundown

Very windy during the night, and cold.  My daughter lives in the South Pacific and is used to tropical breezes, nothing like we had all night long.  She was on the windward side of the Quarterdome, and the gusts kept collapsing the pole on that side so the tent wall was right down on her, only to spring back up as the gusts eased.  It was tough to get much sleep wondering if the rainfly was going to be ripped off by some particularly strong gust and sent flying down toward the Upper Big Quilcene, but amazingly the tent held.   Got to give REI credit for building such a lightweight tent so strong.

Dawn came early at our 6000 foot elevation, and it was cold.  Looking later at NWS weather stats for Waterhole by Hurricane Ridge at 5000 feet, saw that temps there dipped into the 30s that night.  Felt like it was in the 30s when I crawled out of the tent on Sunday morning to find the skies clear, although still some clouds over the lowlands.

Had fun getting in a bunch of sunrise photos.

View NE before sunrise
View NE before sunrise
Rainier at dawn
Rainier at dawn
sunrise 1
sunrise 1
sunrise 2
sunrise 2
AA at sunrise
AA at sunrise
Daughter at dawn
Daughter at dawn
Rainier at sunrise
Rainier at sunrise
sunrise cloud
sunrise cloud
Constance sunrise
Constance sunrise
sunrise silhouette
sunrise silhouette
Inner Constance and Warrior at dawn
Inner Constance and Warrior at dawn
Constance at dawn
Constance at dawn
tent door view
tent door view

It was cold enough and still windy enough that we decided to get back in the sleeping bags to see it if would warm up.

An hour or so later it had warmed a bit, so we got out, had some breakfast and wandered around.  Got some good views of Townsend, and between a couple of rocks down at Silver Lake and over at Rainier.

Mt Townsend
Mt Townsend
Silver Lake
Silver Lake
Rainier beyond the ridge
Rainier beyond the ridge

Had heard no marmots until we were startled by a shrill whistle.  Looke around and found a marmot reclining on top of rock on the face of a cliff that drops down toward Silver Lake.  He definitely did not want to give up his throne and held fast for a quite awhile as we approched the rock from the east.  Eventually, he scrambled down the rock, allowing us to climb up to his throne and get a view down at Silver Lake from his perch.

Marmot throne
Marmot throne
Marmot on his throne
Marmot on his throne
Silver Lake from marmot's throne
Silver Lake from marmot's throne

By the time we packed up and started down for the col, he was back on his throne, watching us carefully to make sure we departed his domain.

Marmot watching us leave
Marmot watching us leave

The trip out was pleasant and a lot easier than coming in.  Looking back up toward the ridge, could not tell if the Marmot king was still on his throne, but I suspect he was.

Silver Lake from ridge way trail
Silver Lake from ridge way trail
View S from Silver Lake
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View S from Silver Lake
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EastKing
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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EastKing
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PostMon Aug 17, 2009 4:05 pm 
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AWESOME SUNSET AND SUNRISE PICS! Great TR!! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Bedivere
Why Do Witches Burn?



Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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Bedivere
Why Do Witches Burn?
PostMon Aug 17, 2009 6:18 pm 
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Beautiful!

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dropkick
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dropkick
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PostMon Aug 17, 2009 6:19 pm 
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Great sunrise pics! I lol'ed at the marmot king, I can totally picture that.
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ScottM
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007
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Location: The Olympics
ScottM
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PostMon Aug 17, 2009 7:46 pm 
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Great place.  I've already had the pleasure of being up there twice this year already, once on a "can't see the lake in front of my nose" day also.  Awesome views from that col south of the lake.  Makes you feel very small when looking out towards Constance.
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jeremybe
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Joined: 17 Jul 2008
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jeremybe
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PostMon Aug 17, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Beautiful report in every way, AA!  up.gif  up.gif

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Mark Griffith
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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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Location: Issaquah
Mark Griffith
(Embrace yourself)
PostMon Aug 17, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Great photos, loved the ones of Constance in the evening and at dawn, what a special way to spend time with your daughter.  up.gif
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haydenslides
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haydenslides
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PostTue Aug 18, 2009 5:06 am 
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beautiful pics!  last summer i had the pleasure of hiking up tull canyon, over and down the ridge to silver lake.  such a beautiful sight, the shimmering little lake below...
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RodF
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RodF
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PostTue Aug 18, 2009 9:01 pm 
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"Marmot's Throne" is a fine viewpoint destination, isn't it!

Ancient Ambler wrote:
The last time I'd come up the way trail we had to pick our way through through scores of jack-strawed blowdowns, but some kind souls have cut the trail clear through that disaster zone.  There are still a few blowdowns to scramble on the way trail, but no big problems. 

Four kind souls, as I recall  wink.gif  ... and hope they might just wanna do it again!
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Silver Lake and Silver Ridge 08-15 & 16-09 (Olympics)
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