Finally made a first visit to the popular Anderson and Watson Lakes trail.
This trail is located east of Baker Lake, off Hwy 20/Baker Lake Road and crosses into the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness.
Lots of fall color and a ton of blueberries this time of year. *yum*
Due to the limited visibility on account of the weather we opted to bypass the Anderson Butte side trip but will get it the next time I'm in the neighborhood. This side trip ascends to where the Anderson Butte Fire Lookout used to sit.
Rain was in the forecast, so we packed accordingly and managed to all stay substantially dry and very comfortable during most of the hike.
The hike started with alternating light rain or no rain on and off for the first 3/4 of the hike and then the precipitation increased significantly for hike out from East Watson Lake to the trail head. By the time we reached the vehicles, my raincoat was just starting to soak through in places.
We followed the trail through forest, meadows and more forest down to Anderson Lake:
Meadow in the Anderson Lake basin:
We then ascended the short but steep section through trees and a rocky trail back to the trail junction in the upper meadow, enjoying fall colors all the way:
Following the sign toward Watson Lake the trail ascends to a saddle between Anderson Butte and, well, some other high point... probably a shoulder of Mt. Watson. On the way up to the saddle you can look back down on the meadow through the trees and see part of the boardwalk:
A short distance beyond the saddle, the trail crosses into the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness and an immediate view over Watson Lake and East Watson Lake (in the distance):
When the weather is better there are probably top notch views from here.
The trail quickly descends directly to Watson Lake:
Following the trail around the lake in a clockwise direction takes you to a crossing of the Lake Watson outflow, over a little crest and then down to East Watson Lake. We stopped for a not-quite dry lunch under a cedar tree in the clearing to the left in the below picture.
Due to all the rain, there were a number of spectacular waterfalls raging down Mt. Watson. A couple are faintly visible in the picture below.
During our short lunch break the rain decided to start turning up the intensity a bit, so we packed up and began the hike out. Here you can see the amount of water present on the trail. In the background is the saddle that we'll hike up and over on the way out.
Mountain Ash, changing color with it's striking red berries.
From the saddle, another picture of Watson and East Watson. Our route crossed over the outflow just visible in the middle-left of the picture:
For being such a popular trail, we were surprised to encountered less than a hand full of people on the trail. A couple with two dogs passed us on their way out and we saw a couple of people on the opposite side of Anderson Lake. Other than that, we had the entire place to ourselves.
Lots of chit-chat, lots of fall colors, lots of blueberries, lots of rain, lots of wildlife droppings on the trail and a lot of fun.
The 10 mile long forest service road was in good condition, although there was a section where a creek appears to be flowing over the road, but it was easily navigated in my Camry. It probably needs to be put on the maintenance list by someone, somewhere.
As others had promised, this is a really neat hike.
I'd highly recommend to to anyone who isn't looking for solitude. It's a great kid hike and dogs are allowed.
Round trip was a short 3.5 miles or so and about 1,200 feet of cumulative elevation gain. Opting to do the side trip to Anderson Butte probably adds a mile or two and an extra 500 feet of elevation gain.
Here is a video compilation which includes most of these pictures, plus some actual video footage of the worst variety. Set to a nice rock-n-roll tune. With french lyrics just to spice it up a little.