3.06.2014

Sunday Lake: Alpine Lake Wilderness

Sunday Lake, looking south


I recently bought a REI Quarter Dome T1 tent and needed to try it out. Like all outdoor gear junkies when i say "need" i mean "need". New toys are made to play with right away. Therefore i headed up to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for a quick overnighter at Sunday Lake.
Sunday Lake is a low elevation lake at 1900 feet, in the far western portion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. 
I was hoping to do some fishing, thinking the lake would be mostly unfrozen.
The drive to the trailhead is on a bumpy long forest road. I used my phone's GPS and it took me through some of Hancock's forest roads which only lead me to an closed gate. I had to backtrack. Using Hancock's back roads is faster and less miles (nicer roads) compared forest road 5700 but if one of the gates is not open your screwed. Follow my directions on the bottom of this post for access to the trail. 
The trailhead is not much of a trailhead. It starts at gate 30. I had to park alongside the forest road as there's no parking spots. 
Heading up the forest road (5720) from gate 30 quickly i came to the Sunday Lake trail sign. Soon after the sign, i was forced to dance from log to log to rotten log around a year round pond. The logs are on the left side of the road.
After the pond the trail starts which really is an old logging road. After a rather easy stroll through the woods Sunday Creek is your first challenge and the main challenge depending on what time of year your hiking. From where the trail meets the creek i headed down stream about 500 ft. There i found rocks, slippery rocks, from which i jumped across with only one boot falling into the creeks icy hands. 
The trail starts up again just on the other side of the creek with red trail ribbons marking the rest of the trail. 
Next, remains from the old logging days are easily discovered just off the right side of the trail. 

Old Logging Equipment


From here the trail starts to climb as roots and rocks line the trail. I bet most of this upper section of trail is wet or is filled with a stream in spring.
After the last 1/4 of a mile, the hardest section, Sunday lake opens up as much as it can.
The lake is very marshy and with shrubs and trees lining the shoreline. The eastside of the lake is open which is the best location for fishing  as the shore itself is a large boulder field.
Sadly the lake was mostly frozen and i couldn't entice any trout to bite from the unfrozen shallow waters.
I did see several minnow sized fish dart by as i hiked around the lake.

Frozen part of the lake


They say never hike alone...... and never walk across a frozen lake.. alone. But I couldn't help myself. I scurried across the lake nervously with the sun's beams warming up the ice. I could hear ice cracking with it's echoes moving across the lakes frozen waters. I never could see the ice cracking as the ice was 4 inches deep.  I found a nice mossy area near the northern part of the lake and made camp. Perfect solitude, not a soul was on the trail. The evening Barred owl gave me company for several hours. 




Morning fire with my handmade cotton ball fire starter




Sunday Lake from my campsite



Trail: Sunday Lake trail #1000
Forest: Mt Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest,        Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Miles: 6.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Elevation at Trailhead: 1500 feet
Elevation at lake: 1900 feet
Pass Required: NW Forest Pass Link to buy pass
Wildlife: Chickadees, Grouse- not sure what         kind, Hairy Woodpecker, Common                 Goldeneye, Barred owl
Fish: WDFW stocked Cutthroat Trout. No fish         caught, but did see two small fish. 
Camping: Permitted, i found four nice camping       spots, Fires permitted
Parking: Minimal, along the Forest Road, No         bathrooms
Directions: From North Bend - Take exit 31 to North Bend. Follow North Bend Blvd N, then take a right on W. North Bend Way. Quickly take a left onto Ballarat Ave N. Follow this for a little while as it will veer left and right and turn into NE 12 st. Soon veer left as 12th turns into 428 ave SE. Cross the Snoqualmie river twice then the road veers left and turns into N Fork Rd SE. Soon you will gaining elevation and join Forest Rd 5700 for about 14.5 miles to trialhead. Stay on this road for awhile and just pass gate 11 it will turn into Fury lake Rd/Forest Rd 5700. Don't take Gate 11 like i did!!! Follow this road until you cross the N. Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Park at gate 30/ NF rd 5720.