After looking forward to this backpacking weekend for months, the early August forecast delivered chance thunderstorms, rain, and general misery. Gone were my dreams of lofty alpine lakes, or finally exploring the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Instead, we tried to find a route that wouldn’t be miserable in the rain, reasonably safe in a thunderstorm, and the possibility to pop up to a high alpine lake if conditions were great (they were not great). Waptus Lake was beautiful in the dark and stormy weather. It was not my favorite August backpacking destination, but I can certainly see myself returning during the shoulder seasons.
We arrived at the trailhead at 9:30 on Saturday, and the parking area was nearly full. Given that it was fairly early on a Saturday morning, we were a little surprised but still found a space on the shoulder to park in. The rain began as we put on our gear, but it was light and warm, making everything feel a little humid.
After grabbing a permit, we started up the Waptus River trail. The Copper River Trail also departs from the trailhead, and it looked very inviting. Instead we turned to the right and began to climb the classic Salmon La Sac forest.