I use the All Trails App a lot while planning our hikes. I like that I can see the trail length, the elevation gain and real people’s reviews of the trail. Although all three of those things can be slightly skewed due to inaccuracies and subjective opinions. But it gives me a good start on the trails I am looking at.
One thing that is not questionable, the photos posted by other hikers. Although some are clearly photoshopped, you can’t fake scenery. As I continued snooping around on All Trails I stumbled upon Stevens Lake. It was late fall and the colors were spectacular, to say the least.
While flipping through the current photos I made it my mission to visit Stevens Lake. Mostly because I could not believe anywhere could be that visibly simulating. I had to see for myself if these photos were real or enhanced like some washed up 90’s celebrity who was once pretty but has fussed too much. You know who I’m talking about. There are at least 12 of them I can think of off the top of my head.
After reading reviews and trail notes I found that the trail has a few ways to reach the lake. Some that shorten the trail and some that are easier. But neither of those two adjectives mixed together “easier and shorter”. So it would be either longer and easier or shorter and harder. I picked my poison and took the longer easier route. Mostly because I’m what they call a lazy hiker.
The dogs and I made our way from the trailhead, walking up the wide trail that leads to a slight ascent into the thick forest.
After a quick climb, the forest opened up into a meadow of rich fall colors. Reds, oranges, and yellows filled the valley, boldly contrasting against the deep green trees and pale grey granite. And just like that, the photoshop suspicions were put to rest.
We reached a small waterfall which according to the trail notes was the fork in the road between the easy way and the hard way. The hard way headed up into the thick woods and the easy way headed out into a rock slide with a trail zig-zagging up the mountainside.
We headed out along the rock slide and started the traverse up the hillside. There were a few cheater trails, but we stuck to the main trail, because for the most part Boomer and I are rule followers. Jovi. Well, she only follows the rules if I make here. Otherwise, she would be on every cheater trail possible. There is a reason we call her the littl’ devil.
A break in the trees revealed the rolling hills, and the alpine lake just as I had seen in the photos from the All Trails App. Brilliant in color and impossible to believe they weren’t color enhanced. Although I knew they weren’t because I don’t have Photoshop installed into my eyeballs.
Boomer and Jovi rushed into the crystal clear water, taking in a quick swim before we got down to our jobs. Mine throwing something for Boomer to swim after and Jovi to swim after him, trying to make him go where she wants him to go. It’s amusing to see how these two work together. I couldn’t have asked for a better pair, but they truly fit the mold of typical sibling behavior.
After sufficient lake time, we headed back down the trail. I decided to check things out on the shorter, but the more difficult trail. I regretted my decision as the trail has a sharp decline and would have been easier to manage going up than down.
We returned back to the waterfall and were back on the standard trail where we were once again treated to the oranges, reds, and yellows of the fall foliage. It is probably one of the most impressive displays of fall colors I have ever seen in the Northwest.