Soda Peaks Lake (Trapper Ck Wilderness) 11-Oct-08

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VanMarmot
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Soda Peaks Lake (Trapper Ck Wilderness) 11-Oct-08

Post by VanMarmot » October 16th, 2008, 10:41 am

Soda Peaks Lake is located across the valley from Observation Peak and is not only a pleasant for a moderate hike, but also affords you a different view of Observation along the way. The hike starts on trail #192 toward Observation Peak but after a mile or so you turn left (west) on to trail #133. You shortly come to the "footbridge" mentioned in most of the guidebooks and on FS maps. It is actually an old vehicle bridge that has now been dropped into the creek, presumably to avoid someone being hurt when it eventually collapsed. But, with a little care, it's easy to cross.
Missing footbridge.JPG

After a short traverse of the valley floor, the #133 trail starts climbing toward the lake. When I tried this trail in early season two years ago, it was blocked with several fallen trees as well as snow higher up - it was a thrash most of the way and I never got to the lake. This time it was open and in excellent condition the whole way.
Trail 133 (s).JPG
The trail mixes climbing with level stretches. Early on, you get a good view of Observation to the north,
Observation Peak (s).JPG
as well as open areas with vibrant fall colors. It's also possible to catch a glimpse of Mt. Adams from a few points.
Fall colors (s).JPG
It took about 2.5 hours to reach the lake. Some folks were camped on the lake and had a smudge-pot of a campfire going, which provided either "atmosphere" or air pollution - depnding on your mood.
Soda Peaks Lake (s).JPG
Regardless, the lake makes an excellent destination for lunch and an interesting counter-point to the exposed summit of Observation across the way.
Lake shore (s).JPG
Lake shore 2 (s).JPG
The trail continues about 2 miles up and past the lake and over a pass to a forest road (which is the easy way to reach the lake). It's also possible, with a little scrambling, to reach the summit of Soda Peak from the trail. There was also a light dusting of snow on the NW side of the peak, which hopefully is not the prelude to a repeat of last winter's endless snows...

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fettster
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Re: Soda Peaks Lake (Trapper Ck Wilderness) 11-Oct-08

Post by fettster » October 16th, 2008, 11:17 am

VanMarmot wrote:Some folks were camped on the lake and had a smudge-pot of a campfire going, which provided either "atmosphere" or air pollution - depending on your mood.
Hehe, I like it!

I haven't been over to the lake, but this is a really nice wilderness. Quiet, but still fairly accessible. Is there much of a "beach" along the lake for water access or is it pretty brushy?

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drm
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Re: Soda Peaks Lake (Trapper Ck Wilderness) 11-Oct-08

Post by drm » October 17th, 2008, 9:44 am

fettster wrote:
I haven't been over to the lake, but this is a really nice wilderness. Quiet, but still fairly accessible. Is there much of a "beach" along the lake for water access or is it pretty brushy?
Fettster - a lot of the lakeside is inaccessible due to brush, but there is easy access at enough places, generally near the camping sites. Some of them have a lot of floaters, but on that side of the lake, you are near the outlet.

Interesting that the bridge low down is gone. Its support beams were absolutely huge logs and I don't think there was any threat that the whole bridge would fail. The danger was from the flat boards that formed the walking surface. They were very rotten, so you might punch through if you weren't careful.

In late season, Trapper Creek is easy to hop across, but it won't be in the spring. There is an older access trail on the south side of the creek that avoids the need to cross, but it has some washouts and I don't think that the Forest Service has any serious plans to fix it. But it is passable with a bit of bushwhacking to avoid the washouts. There are some makeshift bridges that the local cabin-renters have made, but they aren't always the best quality either (if they are still there).

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