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Author Topic: Whale Lake via Slide Lake  (Read 2310 times)

Offline KP-Skagit

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Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« on: July 11, 2016, 08:50:48 PM »
This past week I took off a bit early on Friday for a little backpacking trip up near Slide Lake. My initial plan was to hike into Enjar Lake that evening and then hike the ridge to the North to Granite Lake. After chasing a pretty good sized bear out of NF 16 I hit the trail around 4 PM and was reminded that it had rained that evening. All the underbrush was so wet I was instantly soaked to bone. I didn't know whether to walk or swim. Made Slide in good time and began wading my way toward Enjar.

Looking to the north I began to be humbled by the ridge and feeling the weight in my now water logged pack made me think twice about my plan. However I soon noticed a nice alpine meadow develop and I knew a pass out of this meadow would lead to Whale Lake.

It was about 6 at this point, I had just crossed a large creek and was a couple hundred yards from Enjar. With plenty of light I figured Whale Lake was in range. I left the fisherman's trail for the road less traveled and began up to the pass. The road was steep and decently thick underbrush made it interesting. For fear of not gaining the elevation I needed  and painting myself in a corner I actually climbed too far and found myself about 200 ft above the pass. I shed this elevation quickly, actually about 75 ft of it on my hind end when my feet slipped out. A few hundred yards later I glimpsed my prize, Whale Lake.



The lake is super cool with several waterfalls feeding it along with a large inlet stream. Very steep relief flanks it on all sides.

I basically ran down to the lake at this point and reached it at about 8. I was pretty gassed at this point and set out to get some food and camp situated. There is a campsite on a knob on the SW corner of the lake.

I wet a line for a while opting for my spinning rod over the fly rod as a back cast would be tricky without wading fairly deep at the lake inlet. Using a mepps number one I had a hit almost every cast, not very many resulting in hookups and the best fish was only about 8 inches. He might as well have been prime rib to me and made an excellent right cap. I imagine mosquito pattern flies would do well as Whale Lake had the worst mosquitoes I've found in WA.

That night a thunderstorm rolled through and according to my tin cup that I set on a stump dumped an inch and a half of rain. I was tired so it didn't interfere with my sleep much.

That morning I awoke to more rain and when it subsided more mosquitoes. There was a boulder field pass to Granite that I thought about for a bit but decided I'd had enough fun.


Waterfall and boulder field to Granite.


Southern side of the lake.

I broke camp and took off up to the pass back to Enjar. There is a boulder field that runs the southern portion of the pass. I would recommend using this to get up and down. I missed it on the way in and it was rough.


The look back.


Boulder field.

The meadow looked good in the early morning sun. There were some large boulders and a good stream moving through it.


Meadow


Peak to the south of the pass.

Looked like a likely place to find a bear but I didn't see any while I was up there. With that terrain they are safe from me. There were a couple really "smart" ruffed grouse around.



The rest of the hike out was pretty tame though there is a large creek coming out of this pass. DO NOT go to the west of it.  I made that mistake and spent some more time on my rear end sliding down the hill. The terrain is much more manageable to the East. Hike out took 3 hours.

All in all this was quite the challenge. I would recommend that if someone wants to do it you pick a dry day later in the season. This area is absolute incredible, it is a shame that it doesn't get a bit more traffic to keeps things a little better maintained.

I will be going back to Whale Lake and will probably continue to Granite Lake. I will flag the trail for others.

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« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 09:06:20 PM by KP-Skagit »

Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 08:55:06 PM »
NICE.  :tup:
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Offline DaveMonti

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 09:02:52 PM »
Great writeup!  Thanks for sharing it! 

Offline fish vacuum

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 02:35:11 AM »
Awesome trip!

Offline seth30

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 09:11:04 AM »
I saw on another forum there was  huge bolder blocking illabot creed road.  Has than been cleared?    I plan on doing something very similar on my return to the states.  Thanks for sharing the picks and flagging the trail :tup:
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Offline jj-ak

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2016, 01:37:24 PM »
There is a massive boulder but you can drive around it. Passed it in my dads F-250. It was tight but doable.

Offline Bill W

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 01:40:15 PM »
Enjoyable to read this post.  I always wanted to try Slide Lake and Granite.   Never tried either trip.

Offline KP-Skagit

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 02:34:42 PM »
Slide is certainly more accessible but makes for an awesome, manageable trip. I have heard Enjar is awesome also though I turned off before it on this trip. Still trying to find the best route to Granite, may just bite the bullet on a multiday trip in.

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Offline seth30

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 05:20:13 PM »
When I get back to the Conus will be doing a day trip to Enjar with my kids for some fishing.  My 5 year old has hiked to Slidelake 3 times now with no problems.  I carry my 2 year old on my back :chuckle: Also plan on checking out whale lake and thank you very much for the info on that.  I will take up a net to keep the bugs off me.   Let us know if you find a route to the Granite Lake :tup:
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Offline Smokepole

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2016, 07:45:03 PM »
Good going, KP.  That is a heck of a trip into Whale.  I use the same route, up that creek near Enjar quite a few times.  There is a good caddis hatch up there in the evenings by the inlet stream.  I always seem to catch some good ones there.  I've never tried going into Granite lakes from there, but heard it is doable. 

Imho, it's a bad idea to flag your route.  You will open up the remote lakes to guys who will trash those special lakes.  I've seen it a lot.  You got the skills, and you earned it.  But please reconsider flagging your routes. 
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Offline kodiak 907

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2016, 08:36:35 PM »
 :yeah:
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Offline jj-ak

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2016, 11:55:43 AM »
 :yeah:x2

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2016, 12:04:07 PM »
Those lakes are naturally reproducing lakes and no longer stocked by Trailblazers

Offline dekartes

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2017, 11:14:34 AM »
Hello,

One more comment on the flagging...  I haven't been to Enjar in a bit, but went this last weekend.  Flagging the route was a bad idea.   You have to earn these areas.   Enjar is so close to Slide, but the difficult route kept access to a minimum.  There was 8 people there on a rainy day.   Where I camped there was a pillow, beer cans and fuel canisters.   Please don't make it easier for the yahoos.   If you can't read a map and don't have minimal route finding skills then you should stay on established trails.  I must say, the boot path was waaaay more established than a number of years ago.   I camped at Slide with my 5 year old daughter a few weeks back and some jack ass left 2 sleeping bags stuffed under a log.   She did catch her first Rainbow on her own though!  At least it's easier to get trash out of Slide. The good tent sites have been ruined also.   Huge ass fire pit where you used to be able to put 2 tents.  The great site at the end of the lake was reduced to a 1 tent site by an A frame, where whoever did that cut down a bunch of the trees at that site.   I intend to go back with a shovel and pick at some point so I can bring my daughter and friends and have a nice site for multiple tents.  Good place to take little ones.

These areas do go in cycles, so I hope this weekend was an anomaly.   My first trip to Enjar was 25 years ago and I followed the river the entire way.   Took awhile.  Followed the boot path on the way out.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Whale Lake via Slide Lake
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2017, 12:05:17 PM »
Nice write up. Pretty sure without looking at our database we still stock those lakes.