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Spectacle Lake,  Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area,  Jul 26, 2004 - Jul 29, 2004     page 1 / 17

Monday, July 26th, began on the east coast in Washington, D.C. I had one more day of my four-day trip prior to beginning a short summer break. The alarm woke me at 5:30AM. Shortly thereafter I received a call from my captain informing me that our 7:30AM flight to Phoenix had been cancelled due to an aircraft maintenance issue. Rather than sit in the hotel until 5:00PM that evening to ride back to Phoenix, I cleaned up and headed for the airport. I hopped on an Alaska Airlines flight direct to Seattle and arrived home nearly three hours earlier than originally scheduled.

I had planned to meet my father, my brother and a couple of his friends on Tuesday at Spectacle Lake, in the Alpine Lakes area of Washington state (see map). They had started their trek on Sunday, staying at Pete Lake the first night, then continuing to Spectacle Lake the following day. I could head into the hills a day earlier. Perhaps I could even reach them by Monday evening. I raced home, finished the packing I had started the previous week, had a quick bite to eat and began the 2 1/2 hour drive to Cooper Lake, roughly 20 miles north of Rosalyn, Washington. I was on the trail shortly before 3:00 PM.

The trail from Cooper Lake to Pete Lake is relatively flat, perhaps gaining 200 feet in the 4.5 mile walk. It was warm and a bit dusty, but pleasant. I passed the first camp area around 4:30PM and continued around to the north side of the lake. There I stopped for a bite to eat and a brief rest. Should I spend the night there and press on in the morning or continue the hike? I decided that the day was plenty long enough and I still had energy to burn. Within a couple of miles I had joined the Pacific Crest Trail and crossed the major river which feeds Pete Lake. The water was cold, fast, and clear. What a refreshing sight!

The cold, swift water passes quickly under the bridge