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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Esmeralda Basin & Lake Ann

It was a gorgeous October day and we had a delightful trip to Lake Ann, a gem of a lake with golden larches lining the shoreline.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The trail was in excellent condition. Frozen soil made for surprisingly soft footing in the morning, becoming a little muddy as the day passed.

    The dirt road to the trailhead has many washboard-like sections but not too many potholes. Definitely passable in a sedan. Be prepared for a bumpy ride.

    Hunting season has opened and we saw many hunters parked and camped along the road. 

We arrived at the trailhead at 8:15am for an 8:30 start. Already the parking area was full, with vehicles beginning to park along the road. Everyone was on time and ready to go. Temps were near freezing so we kept our  trailhead huddle  brief in order to get moving. We hiked at a steady pace with brief breaks for clothing adjustments as we slowly warmed up, toes and fingers being the last to thaw. The eagle eyes of group members kept us on the correct trail at junctions. Once we branched of from the Ingall's Lake trail, we saw no other hikers until we reached the ridge overlooking Lake Ann. At the ridge, we scrambled up a bit higher and took in the views of Mount Rainer, Glacier Peak and many closer peaks before descending to the lake. The larches along the lakeshore were gorgeous! We timed this trip perfectly. And the lake itself was a pretty turquoise color, clear and shallow. We had an early lunch ("elevenses") at the lake then spent a leisurely amount of time exploring and taking photos. We decided to circumnavigate the lake on our return, which involved crossing a boulder field before re-connecting with the trail. The return trip was pleasant and uneventful, although we encountered many more hikers, quite a few with friendly dogs. We arrived back at the trailhead around 2:30, for a total trip of 9 miles and 2392 feet of elevation gain. It was such a pleasure to share the day with this wonderful group of hikers!

Leaving the trailhead was a bit of an unexpected adventure. There was a seemingly endless row of cars parked along the road and in every conceivable space - not all of which were parked in a thoughtful or courteous manner. We managed to squeeze through and were fortunate to avoid having to back up along what had become a narrow single lane road.