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May. Fair weather hiking season is underway in a lot of places. We had a lot of precipitation this year in the Puget Sound area, so it will be a while before we can get to the high places. There will also be a long avalanche season as the weather gets warmer. That said, there are still places to go -- and one of the more popular hikes in the area is Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene.

Here you see a bird's eye photo of the lake, along with the trailhead circled in red. This hike is about forty miles northeast of Seattle as the crow flies, and probably a ninety minute drive. It's right by Index, Washington, and you can even see Mount Index towering above the lake at the bottom of the photo below.

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This isn't a TOPO map or anything, but the view will tell you pretty quickly that this is a wicked-awesome hill. I want to say that the climb from the trailhead is about 2000 feet, but the last 1200 is really steep. If you visit the area and do this hike, be prepared to use your hands and feet to get there. Below you can see photos from the trail as it was just last Sunday.

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Another thing: bring a friggin' rain poncho if you care about getting wet. And watch your step! Being stupid by a rapid fall doesn't always yield good results. But it's an easy hike up to this point (see the trail guide I linked in the intro for more information). The wicked-awesome kicks in when you start up to Lake Serene from here.

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Yeah -- Lake Serene is up there somewhere.

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And here we are -- still under snow. But it's a gorgeous basin and a great place for a picnic. It's a really busy trail, so don't expect it to be quiet, unless it's a slow day in the middle of the week. Seattle is full of telecommuters on flex-time, though, so "middle of the week" doesn't necessarily provide any guarantees.

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More of the cliffs that surround Lake Serene...

Update and Disclosure -- I spent Mother's Day at home with my daughter who had a broken toe and wasn't up for hike. Mr. rb137 did the Mother's Day hike without us, and took the pics. I wrote the diary from memory of the trail.

It is still a wicked-awesome hill, but my memory mistook Lake Serene wicked-awesome with Rachel Lake wicked-awesome. No hands required for Lake Serene -- in fact, the whole hike is well manicured stairs that switch back and forth. Rachel Lake is another story.

I don't know if this is a testament to my aging memory or to the number of wicked-awesome hikes there are in Washington State. I hope it's the latter.

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