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Tom
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:04 am 
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Was looking to stretch the legs thanks to a short window of good weather.  Original thought was to head up the Illabot and explore Falls Lake but the forecast to the north indicated a chance of rain in the morning.  Snoqualmie area forecast was mostly sunny - Joe Lake it would be.  Tried to get an earlier than normal start as I knew it would be a long day.  Biked up Barbie's Boyfriend's road, reached the lower lake by 9:45, PCT by 10:30, Katwalk by 11:30, Ridge and Gravel a little after noon, and the first views down to Joe an hour later.

Arriving at Lower Ken
Arriving at Lower Ken
Traversing left around Lower Ken
Traversing left around Lower Ken
Middle Ken
Middle Ken
Descending to PCT
Descending to PCT
Chair, Roosevelt, Snoqualmie and Lundin
Chair, Roosevelt, Snoqualmie and Lundin
Rainier and I-90
Rainier and I-90
Snoqualmie, Lundin and Red
Snoqualmie, Lundin and Red
Katwalk
Katwalk
Looking back to Katwalk
Looking back to Katwalk
Wispy clouds
Wispy clouds
Arriving at Ridge Lake
Arriving at Ridge Lake
Gravel Lake
Gravel Lake
Leaving Ridge Lake
Leaving Ridge Lake
Traversing above Alaska Lake
Traversing above Alaska Lake
Pineapple Pass
Pineapple Pass
Down to Alaska
Down to Alaska
Peek-a-boo view down to Edds Lake
Peek-a-boo view down to Edds Lake
Neek's Valley
Neek's Valley
Thompson to Big Snow
Thompson to Big Snow
First views of Joe
First views of Joe
Descending PCT above Joe
Descending PCT above Joe

15+ years ago Edd and I had dropped down for a quick visit to Joe from the PCT saddle directly west of the lake.  I figured I'd head down again that way and explore other options on the way back.  On the way down I angled too far left and ended up swimming in brush near the bottom (should have traversed right toward the talus) but at least I popped out where I could still launch the raft.  Had a quick snack, inflated the raft, and cast off around 2 PM.  After floating for a short bit I noticed a bird with impressively large wingspan circle above then swoop down to the lake.  I pulled out my telephoto and snapped a bunch of pictures, hoping a few would turn out.  It was tricky hand holding a 600mm zoom with the boat rocking and circling while trying to photograph.  After getting my fill of shots I continued over to the partial island and side tarn for a few pictures before continuing to the outlet and disembarking for lunch around 3 PM.

Brushy exit
Brushy exit
Successful lakebag, lakebag is successful
Successful lakebag, lakebag is successful
Chikamin and 4 Brothers from Joe
Chikamin and 4 Brothers from Joe
Looking back to brush fest from raft
Looking back to brush fest from raft
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Rafting Joe
Rafting Joe
Huckleberry from raft
Huckleberry from raft
Side tarn and Huckleberry
Side tarn and Huckleberry
Thompson
Thompson
4 Brothers
4 Brothers
Thompson from east end of Joe
Thompson from east end of Joe
Thompon from Joe outlet
Thompon from Joe outlet

It looked as if the most straight forward route up would be to follow the gentle westerly ridge up from Little Joe.  Brush wasn't bad at all, mostly huckleberry, although the ridge was steeper in spots than implied by the topo.  At ~5100' after passing a small tarn I opted to head towards a grassy talus field to catch the other rib up Alaska Mountain.  I initially regretted the decision as it led to some excessively high angle veggie belay to get up onto the rib but once on it was easy wide open walking to the obvious switchback on the PCT, which I reached around 4:15 PM.  I headed back for one last view of Joe Lake before the long slog back, making it to the car just before dark.

Little Joe and Huckleberry
Little Joe and Huckleberry
Colorful mushroom
Colorful mushroom
Talus to steep veggie belay
Talus to steep veggie belay
Looking up rib
Looking up rib
Fall color on rib
Fall color on rib
3 Queens from rib
3 Queens from rib
Looking back to Joe, Huckleberry and Chikamin
Looking back to Joe, Huckleberry and Chikamin
3 Queens to Alta
3 Queens to Alta
Alta and Ramparts
Alta and Ramparts
Gravel Lake
Gravel Lake
Humpty dumpty rock
Humpty dumpty rock
Stone kingdom from Katwalk
Stone kingdom from Katwalk
Rainier, Snoqualmie Pass and I-90
Rainier, Snoqualmie Pass and I-90
Lower Ken
Lower Ken
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rbuzby
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 6:37 am 
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Nice pics.

When I think of Joe Lake I think of mayonaise jars and big wads of fishing line.
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neek
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 6:49 am 
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Cool  smile.gif ... long day
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Bushwacker
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With my girlfriend
PostFri Sep 13, 2019 7:14 am 
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Outstanding!  up.gif

Thanks for sharing.

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"Wait by the river long enough and the bodies of your enemies will float by"...Sun Tsu
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Backpacker Joe
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 7:43 am 
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Really nice work there Thomas.  Funny you should mention Falls lakes.  I had a guy PM me about Falls lakes a couple days ago.

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kitya
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:23 am 
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Colorful mushroom is COW smile.gif Tasty!
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Slim
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This space for rent
PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:23 am 
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Way to get after it !   Nice pics.

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Tom
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:31 am 
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Thanks, all are cell phone snaps except the heron shots.
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Hutch
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:44 am 
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Did not realize until right now that Great Blue Herons hang out in alpine lakes. Always associated them with the lowlands.

Great pics.
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostFri Sep 13, 2019 4:24 pm 
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ditto.gif

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Tom
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 5:35 pm 
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I've never seen one in the mountains either but was thinking Gold Creek valley might be low enough to provide habitat. In fact after doing a search on the trip reports forum for the keyword heron I found two reports indicating blue heron sightings in the Gold Creek area, one even in winter.
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Type E
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 6:21 pm 
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I have two that live on my lake , fun to watch them hunt provided you have plenty of time

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Nancyann
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 9:27 pm 
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Nice trip report and pictures, Tom! That sure is a long way to get to Joe Lake. Back in the early Ď70ís my PCT hiking pal and I went up to Joe Lake from the Gold Creek Valley. We scrambled up a steep part that was marked with huge fluorescent orange arrows someone had spray painted on the boulders. When we finally arrived at the lake, we were shocked at the amount of garbage people had left at such a pretty lake. I hope you found it in much better condition!
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Brushwork
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:18 pm 
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Really nice pictures.   I would have camped overnight for that effort!   

Yea, just being able to hang out in the raft for a bit... when I was there we came up from the valley.... kinda fun and kinda a lot of work.   Think your way is easier.   Never heard of Barbies..,, whatever the heck that was.   Too funny!   

Thank you for the pictures!!!  (Especially since I donít seem to be getting myself out  ..,,,,!

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Tom
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PostSat Sep 14, 2019 1:45 am 
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Would have been nice to stay the night but I'm a fair weather camper.  I was surprised at the steady stream of thru hikers heading north given the forecast but they must be on a mission to finish rain or shine.  By the time I got home thunder shook the house and the skies opened up.

Nancy, I didn't see any garbage.  Large fire pits though, so guessing it still gets a fair amount of visitation.
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