Waptus Lake Backpacking

T and I went on our very first backpacking trip together last weekend! We went to Waptus Lake, in Central Washington, about a two-hour drive from Seattle.

Using ultralight principles, we got our bags down to ~18-20lbs each, including food and water for two days.

After all our research around going lightweight, we were finally ready to hit the trail. Nine miles in and nine miles out – all of it beautiful.

Waptus River

Copper Creek

The river looked so refreshing when we were in the 100-degree burnout areas!

Forest + rocky mountains

We took a couple of John Muir-style photos – I think this one turned out the best.

T is majestic

Finally after our first eight and a half miles, we came to Waptus River, just before it expands into Waptus Lake. There, the hiker bridge was out, and signs led us to the horse ford. We were already leaning toward not using the ford and taking the alternate way around the other side of the lake where there were also campsites, but upon seeing the ford, we were truly convinced. The river was about 50 feet wide, and the water was slow-moving but knee-high on normal people (so, hip-height for me?) and neither of us had ever forded a river before. It was decided, and we headed west toward the Quick Creek Camps (get it?) where we finally found a campsite that was secluded but within shouting distance of the one other person camping there.

We made it!

Our home for the night

The view from our front door

We arrived around 6pm, and settled in for dinner (instant soup, mmmm) and some games and booze. I had the world’s classiest flask (full of Lillet Blanc). The night sky was clear, chock full of stars, and then the moon came up and tricked us all into being awake – it was as bright as the sun, with rays of light and everything! A couple of critters rustled about our site during the night, but nothing big.

The next morning was crisp and the lake seemed to be constantly exuding mist.

Misty morning on Waptus Lake

We started on our nine-mile trek back out to the trailhead, and said goodbye to beautiful Waptus River. It was much more beautiful when it was on mile 1 of the trip rather than mile 9! Somehow we paid more attention to it…

Waptus River, as seen from the clear eyes of Day 2

As this was our first backpacking trip, we learned a lot and made a list (of course) of comforts we’d like to have (even if they don’t usually align with the UL philosophy)… Next trip – Enchanted Valley in the Olympic Peninsula?

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