North Cascades Backpacking | Wing Lake

wing lake in the north cascades of washington

This summer’s bookings have been really interesting. While I was super busy in June and July and I’m fully booked in September, August was just a bit slower. This was the complete opposite of last year! That being said, it made for a few really nice weekends off where we were able to spend time with family and friends doing what we love to do in the summer – backpacking! A few weeks ago we spent some time up the North Cascades with David’s sister and her boyfriend and our friend Evan and his girlfriend. We weren’t able to leave until Saturday due to a Friday evening session I had so we woke up at the crack of dawn and got on the road to the North Cascades. Getting to Wing Lake seemed pretty tame from first glance – 12 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2652 feet. That being said, most of this trail isn’t actually a marked trail and leads to the popular scramble up Black Peak. Over three hours of driving on the beautiful Mountain Loop Highway dropped us at the popular trailhead that starts the Heather-Maple Pass Loop. There were a lot of families out enjoying the nice weather and sunshine and it wasn’t long before we ditched the trail to head towards Wing Lake. The split off was pretty easy to spot and we followed a meandering path through some lovely meadows.

From there we hit the real meat of the trail and began a long scramble over a boulder field. Large packs make this type of travel pretty slow and strenuous so we took our time. Before long, we had reached the beautiful alpine gem that is Lewis Lake. Turquoise in color and set up in a pretty little basin, this lake was tempting but we new we had a lot more elevation to gain to reach our final destination so we pressed on.

At this point I was getting pretty winded (have I mentioned I was 20 weeks pregnant for this hike??) and took very slow, calculated steps up each bit of the climb. Once we reached Wing Lake with Black Peak towering in the background, we couldn’t have been more excited to be there. We met up with Evan and Katie and set up camp for the night. Our evening was spent relaxing in a hammock, swimming, fishing, exploring the basin and enjoying the lightning show off in the distance. David caught a beautiful rainbow trout as well. Can’t even believe there are fish in that icy lake! Late at night we even caught the end of the Perseid Meteor Shower when the stars came out. All in all it was pretty magical and well worth the effort it took to get there! This much welcome break from the madness of my busy season and I was just so refreshed when we returned.

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