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    Mike Carey's Blog
    Welcome to Mike's Fishing Blog, the culmination of a ten year vision for this web site. I fish for anything that swims - put a pole in my hand and I'm there!

    Today’s Alpine Lakes hike took me today a near-by gem of a hike and a so-so lake. My destination was Mason Lake, located on the Ira Springs trail, off exit 45 along I-90 highway. It’s a quick and easy 48 mile drive from my house to the trailhead. There was some lumbering taking place on the road to the trailhead which was interesting, but soon enough I was there and putting on my boots for the hike.

    The guide books and the Forest Service rate this hike as “more difficult” and I would have to concur. Although only a 3 mile or so hike to the lake, the elevation gain is almost 2,000 feet so it’s a steep ascent. After a nice warm-up on the old logging road the hike gets serious and I definitely got that “why am I doing this” thought working in my brain. So far in my hiking trips I have been able to push that thought to the back of my mind. It was a little harder this time but I managed it. There were several rest stops that had me gulping for breath – feel the burn baby! It was all worth it as about halfway into the hike the trail opens up to open rock fields and amazing views of the I-90 corridor below and Mt Rainer in the distance. I personally love these types of hikes, getting above tree level, walking high Alpine meadows or cliff walls are my favorite types of trails.

    As I crested the ridge and came up to the sign announcing I was entering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, the trail descended on the back side and back into lush second growth timber, strewn with large moss-covered boulder fields, like a scene out of Lord of the Rings. Wow, an amazing hike with so much variety for three miles! A short bit of hiking and I came to a creek and BAMM! The lake was right in front of me, totally unexpected.

    Mason Lake is a moderate sized lake, listed at 33 acres and holding rainbow trout. The shoreline is boulder-strewn making it tricky to easily work around the entire lake. You definitely need to watch your step! There were several nice looking campsites on the west side of the lake. As to the scenery, this lake is surrounded by forested hills and while nice enough doesn’t really have anything that makes it stands out. Fishing was dead slow with no surface activity. The one fish I caught had some very strange markings. I’ll post the picture and you can come to your conclusions. The fishing was poor, and I was surprised because I figured a nice October day would find these fish on a feeding frenzy before winter comes.

    I hiked into this lake in total solitude and thought maybe on a week day I might actually do the impossible – not see anyone on the trail. But that I guess would be asking a lot considering how close this hike is to the Puget Sound area. I had about a half dozen hiking parties coming up as I went down. But, at least I had the lake to myself while I was up there!

    Hiked on October 12, 2010. Total distance hiked: 8.9 miles, elevation gain 2,337 feet, maximum elevation 4,285 feet.

    View from ridge trail looking back over I-90 toward Seattle


     Mason Lake looking south.


    Mystery Fish


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    Posted by: Mike Carey
    Posted: October 12, 2010 08:23 PM
    p.t. says:
    May 31, 2011 03:07 PM
    Got it, got it, and got it. Thanks a bunch. (In case there is anybody wondering, it's called "100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes". I have several other hiking books, never realized there is one targeting this area. Thanks.)
    May 31, 2011 11:41 AM
    There are a good number of guide books for hiking in Washington. I would recommend visiting Half Price Books as they usually have a good selection of used hiking books. There are the old series of "100" Hikes in... by the Mountaneers, and I like the new updated versions as well, for example "Day Hiking in the Snoqualmie Region" by the Mountaineers. The Forest Service site is here:

    Also, this is a great hiking web site with a ton of info, although not geared toward fishing specifically: Washington Trails Association,
    p.t. says:
    May 30, 2011 10:36 PM
    Mike, you mentioned "the guide book" a couple of times. Do you mind telling me what book is that? Where did you get it? It seems that information about Alpine Lakes is not a lot. You also mentioned the forest service's web site to check if the trail is open, do you mind sharing the link? (I know I probably can goole it out, I'm being lazy here ....) Thanks.
    October 13, 2010 06:38 AM
    ok, that makes sense
    October 13, 2010 06:37 AM
    That is a small native Cutthrout trout I believe. It could be a Golden Trout,. but I'd say it was a Cutthrout.
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