Guides North America Outdoors

Insider Guide: Blanca Lake, Cascade Mountain Range, Washington

September 29, 2015

Just from looking at this photo, very few people would guess that this was taken in Washington State. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to hike the thirty or more steep switchbacks that lead to Blanca Lake in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. Just a two hour drive from Seattle, this gem is one of Washington’s best kept secrets. Though this is a popular trail, it is not overly crowded because the difficulty level keeps the novice hikers at bay. Three and a half miles doesn’t seem tough, until you realize that you will be gaining 3300 ft. in elevation.

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After four hours of climbing over logs, rocks, and streams, I finally reached the landing with views of the Blanca. Don’t worry, your first view of the lake will make the gruesome hike worthwhile. I kid you not, my mouth dropped open and an involuntary gasp escaped. The milky turquoise color of the water is caused by sediment flowing into the lake from the Columbia glacier that feeds it. It was truly like nothing I had ever seen before.

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Once you get to the landing, your climb in not complete. You will now have to maneuver your way down a rock covered hillside to make it to the beach. My dog had no problem scrambling over the loose rocks, but it was a bit more difficult for me. I had planned on jumping into the glacier fed lake upon arrival, but once I touched the water with my fingers, I knew there was no way I could submerge myself into its icy depths. Instead, I blew up the raft I had brought along and carefully slid onto it without falling into the water, which took a surprising amount of skill.

About the Dame Traveler:
After a long float, and a picnic lunch, I headed back towards the car, completely content. It was a great reminder that some of the best adventures happen right outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes I forget that I don’t need to travel to foreign countries to feel the adrenaline rush I am always seeking. Sometimes I can find it right outside my front door.

Becca is a seasoned solo traveler, spending most of her free time trekking through the mountain ranges surrounding Seattle with her mini Australian Shepherd, Oliver. When she can sneak away from her desk at Amazon, she tries to conquer one continent each year. This year she spent two weeks backpacking through Europe. Asia is next on the list, and you can follow her adventures on her Instagram and her blog.

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