Silver Lake & Mt Townsend – August 11-13, 2022

While our grand-kids Evan (24) and Sarah (12) were visiting from Virginia, we took the two of them for a two night backpacking trip.

After arriving on the plane and getting back home at 12:45 am, we slept in for some time but got to packing. While we were preparing gear and food, we heard rumblings. Rumbling changed to loud crashes as an energetic thunderstorm passed right over our house. For 20 minutes or so, it poured down rain. We wondered about our hiking plans and rechecked the weather forecast. It said the storms were decreasing in the afternoon so our plans wouldn’t change.

Soon, everything was loaded in my Tacoma and we left the house close to 12:30. The drive up toward Sequim, and then up the Dungeness forest roads was nice, and even better once we got above the clouds. We got to the trailhead about 1:45 and we’re on the trail at 2:00.

The Silver Lake Way Trail is fun and interesting. It follows Silver Creek up through its steep-sided valley. A couple times it gently follows close to the creek and is very pleasant.

This was Sarah’s first backpacking trip. She seemed to be enjoying the trail and kept right up with her brother Evan while she carried her pack which had a fair load.

The trail is not flat and has a couple very steep sections. There was no rush and we took several breaks to catch our breath when the trail climbed precipitously. All of us were doing well on the 1700’ ascent to Silver Lake. The way trail intersected with the main trail about 3/4 of a mile from the lake. Here, the trail was more gradual but gained elevation steadily until we rounded a corner and arrived at the lake.

We found a campsite on the east side of the lake and erected tents. It was very warm and there were plenty of mosquitoes. Soon, we had hot drinks going followed by freeze dried dinners and Cup Noodles. A game of SkipBo followed dinner before slipping into our tents; Evan and I in one, and Sarah and Elaine in the other.

In the morning, we had our oatmeal breakfasts with coffee or cocoa. At 9:30, we got packs on and walked down to refill water bottles for the climb up to Mt Townsend.

The Silver Lake Trail switch-backed up the broad slope until we arrived at the notch between Welch Peak and Mt Townsend. To add some adventure, we left the main trail and scrambled up the crest of the ridge toward the summit. We all enjoyed the variety – some rock scrambling and steep paths – with broad views both left and right. To the left, the interior peaks of the Olympics thrust their rocky summits toward the sky. While to the right, all of east Jefferson County and the Puget Sound region lay before us. To the south and east, Mt Rainier floated above the low clouds.

Not long after, we were back on the main trail and followed it to the top. Pictures were taken and we sat on the summit rocks for lunch. Only light winds but mild temperatures made for an enjoyable time taking in the scenery.

When we were ready, we reversed course, and in short order we were back at the lake in 1 1/2 hours. We hung out in tents away from bugs as we snoozed and rested.

Later, hot drinks were again followed by dinner and a game of SkipBo. Only positive reflections of our summit day were voiced as we planned our departure back to civilization followed by cold drinks and pizza.