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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Margaret Lake

Our group of eight successfully reached the junction to Margaret Lake, on the Lake Lillian trail. There was still snow above about 4,500 ft., and a lot of snow on the steep, final descent to the lake, so we turned around at the junction. We hiked about 5 miles, with 1,500 elev. gain.

  • Road rough but passable
  • We left the trailhead parking lot at 9:15 a.m. The trail was in good condition for the first two miles. Once we got up on the ridge, at about 4,500 feet, there were still a lot of patches of snow. It was still fairly easy to navigate and follow the trail. Most members of the group put on microspikes as we got into more snow. The junction on the ridge saddle was mostly snow-free. The steep trail that descends 400 feet to the lake was still snowed in. We went a short distance on the trail and could look down toward the lake, but both the lake and Mt. Margaret were not visible in the clouds. Given the steep pitch of the trail down to the lake and deteriorating weather, we opted to have lunch at the junction and then headed back. It was cool and cloudy, with drizzle for most of the day.  We returned to the trailhead at 1:15 p.m.

This hike was part of Tacoma's Conditioning Hiking class, and all participants are students in the class. Access to the trail was good. The last mile of the road was very rough, but passable for most vehicles. We met at the trailhead at 9 a.m. and, after introduction, started hiking at 9:15 a.m. The trail is not particularly well marked, so it's important to read the route descriptions. The trail was in good condition, until we encountered snow at about 4,500 feet. In spite of widespread snow patches, we found the trail and route easy to follow and navigate.

The weather was cool and cloudy, with light rain. There was a little bit of wind on the ridge, and we noticed some wind chill at the lunch stop, at our high point. It was a short lunch stop! 

All of the participants were well-equipped with sturdy boots, poles, and microspikes. They were also equipped for COVID-19 precautions, and had face coverings. We discussed use of trekking poles, microspikes, and raingear. We also discussed rest step, pressure breathing, and the risks of hypothermia on cool, damp days, and talked about decision-making when weather and snow conditions are factors. It was a good learning day and a fun hike.

Our descent was uneventful, although we did encounter several parties that were coming up the trail that did not have face coverings. We returned to the trailhead at 1:15 p.m. Total mileage was about 5 miles, with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.