Lately my hiking adventures have taken me places I’ve already been before. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I have missed the excitement that comes with seeing a new trail for the first time. When I go on solo hikes I prefer going to trails I am familiar with, but sometimes a hike with a friend is what the soul needs.
My favorite way to catch up with friends is by submerging ourselves in the woods. Jessica and I headed to the Olympic Mountains a couple weeks ago and hiked our way to Lena Lake. This trail is popular, due it its gentle elevation gain (only 1300′) and beautiful lake, but I was jazzed to find it wasn’t overly packed.
The hike is 7.2 miles RT, and thanks to the ease of the climb it only took us about three hours. I enjoyed the hike so much I went back the following weekend for a solo hike. What I love most about the Olympic Mountains is that even when you find yourself at a popular trail, you are fully submerged in the woods and can go miles without seeing anyone else.
I was amazed to find how much the trail changed in one week. When Jessica and I went there was water covering nearly 80% of the trail. I was fortunate for my waterproof shoes, although they gave me a gnarly blister. Nothing a bunch of ferns can’t help.
When I went back for my solo adventure the water was nearly gone, and the areas of rushing rapids had completely dried up. This makes me so excited for summer hikes. The perfect trail for getting back in hiking shape, this trail allowed me to get my feet wet literally and metaphorically.
The first half of the trail brought us on a winding series of switch backs. The colors of green were so intensely vibrant and lush, thanks to our long and wet winter here in Washington. I was in awe of the freshness they provided the air, my lungs couldn’t get enough.
Once we passed this bridge (which I was obsessed with) the switchbacks became less prominent as we climbed closer and closer to the lake. A handful of people were at the lake each time I went, and when I’m on a solo hike the sight of other humans is appreciated.
The first trip to the lake we found snow atop the far off trees.
The following week the snow was nearly gone. Seven days later, seven days closer to summer, seven days worth of higher temperatures. Above photos are the first week, below shot is the following week.
Jessica and I spent a solid chunk of time at the lake while we waited for her Jet Boil to heat some water. While we waited, we made friends with the locals. I’ve only ever had a Grey Jay close to my hands once, and there was an apple core between us.
This time, I tried to let them land on my palm, but I panicked and they flew off. The result was an extremely flattering photo of me. We can’t all be modern day Snow White’s.
Maybe next time.
This hike was great, definitely one to add to the list for all types of hikers. Perfect balance of nature and sweat. I’ll be back for both solo and accompanied hikes. For real adventure seekers, the trail continues onto Upper Lena Lake, a 14 mile RT (3900′ gain) trail, as well as to The Brothers, a 13.2 RT (6050′ gain – woof) trail.
Next time I go I’d like to camp at Upper Lena. Stay tuned for that adventure.
Q: Would you let a Gray Jay land on your hand?
56 thoughts on “Lena Lake – Getting My Feet Wet”
I don’t blame you for being obsessed with that gorgeous bridge! Again, love going on your hikes with you through your posts. Hoping to visit your state next summer for a wedding!
Oh I hope you get to!!
I loved it!
I’d have screamed to. I am way too squeamish. (Screamish?)
Hahaha I was not expecting the feet to wrap around my fingers!
Great pictures and hike! And YES, I would let that Gray Jay land on my hand. 😀
I need a redo hahaha!!
Boots on the Trail
I’ve had gray jays on my palm and knees in the Indian Heaven Wilderness (southern Washington). Wonderful! They like bits of chocolate as much as peanuts!
Oh wow, I must go there! Smart birds for liking chocolate. 😝
Rachael @ Catch Me If You Can
oh man i dont know if i could let a bird land in my hand. i dont mind birds…but the talons…i just dont know! that last pic of your is AWESOME! its so crazy how much the same trail can change in as little as a week!!!
It wasn’t even that the talons hurt, because they didn’t, it just THREW me off guard that they wrapped around me. 😂
LOVEEEE all of these photos!! As magical as it sounds to have a bird land on your hand… I’d probably jump too. And then they’d fly off and I’d be sad. 😜 This trail looks EXACTLY like something my dad would love! All of that green… And the lakes… And he’d be a complete overachiever and try to do the full 14-mile trip in a day without camping. 🙈 You two would get along so well on hikes!
I love him. Hahaa! It’s totally doable in one day. 💪🏻
I recently let a goat walk on my back, so I’d say having a bird land on my hand wouldn’t be so bad 😉
WHAT!? Hahaha I need more.
The scenery is just gorgeous. I am definitely jealous of your down time.
I am very appreciative of these days. I hope to always have a schedule that allows for these adventures. They’re a priority. 🙂
kathy @ more coffee, less talky
our trails are just starting to thaw out so i can’t wait to hike them again….they’re nothing like your hikes because we’re nowhere near the water 😦
I’m patiently waiting for the higher elevations to thaw too, I don’t care for deep snow hikes.
THIS IS AMAZING!! I see so many hikers who get birds to land on them – I have NEVER had that happen – I must not be on the right trails! LOL! 🙂 Very inventive way to help with your blisters! And those waterfalls!!!! SWOON!!
These Gray Jays are all over in my area. HA. They KNOW that people are going to feed them.
that so cool!
Yay for hiking. There are so many amazing hikes in my area, I even purchased a local hiking book that I rarely ever look at. I really need to hike more, it’s always fun to explore by foot. I also love hiking with friends but solo hikes are also needed. A little personal time with nature is always rewarding. Lena Lake is truly breathtaking.
I like using those hike books and checking off the trails I’ve done, and adding notes to my experience! It motivates me, and allows me to relive the adventure!
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It’s even better in real time. 🙂
Its exceptionally serene and pretty! I used to hike when i was back home in pakistan, but never really found a stream! Others often did!
Cayman is way to flat for any hikes and loads of lakes and beaches but nothing can beat a mountain hike!
Loved it 🙂
I close my eyes when i let the birds feed from my palm 😉 usually works and once they and I get settled i can open my eyes and enjoy!
Closing your eyes is brilliant! I’ll try that next time. 😝
This hike looks beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! Solo hiking isn’t a thing I’ve tried yet, but you definitely make it sound like it could be magical. Minus the wild birds and their talons…I think I’ll watch those from a distance 😉
It’s so enjoyable for me. It’s like therapy. 😝
An Unrefined Vegan
Couple of things: your hair looks so darn cute. And, I love the photos from your hikes – and how so often everything is covered in mist and rain.
You are too kind. ❤❤ the hike was beautiful!
Beautiful trail country, and the lake looks promising for fishing. And your pink shoes are spectacular! I’m jealous–Merrill doesn’t make narrow widths–the bane of the double-A. . .
Thank you! I can’t say pink was my first choice, but at $100 off thanks to an REI garage sale I was sold!
Beautiful photos, especially the ones with the birds!! Do ferns (pine needles?!) really work on blisters?…
They worked by keeping my shoe from rubbing into the blister! It was more of s spacer and it did help for the rest of the hike, HA!
You make me want to go hiking.
That bird picture is everything, even if you did scream.
The birds love to land on people hah!!
That hike looks downright primordial. I am not a fan of touching wildlife, esp. birds, I so would have screamed right with you -Kat
This comment made me laugh out loud.
Haha! I’d probably have the same reaction and end up with an equally flattering photo so no worries. 😉 Love all these nature pictures. Just so gorgeous!
Haha I still laugh thinking back to that moment.
Lena Lake is gorgeous! So lush and peaceful looking.
I think I’d let a bird land on my hand… but I’d probably be scared it’d peck me, hah!
Haha it pecks at the food, so as long as you’ve got a good amount I think you’d be ok. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know. 😂
Thank you! 🙏🏻
I love the bridge pictures! And of course all the water. Look forward to hearing and seeing what the extended version brings.
Me too! Can’t wait for that adventure 😝
I hope you’re compiling all these photos for your coffee table book…
Such a good idea…
What a beautiful place! We’re stuck in Ohio but hope to make it out to do some hiking in Washington one of these days! -Ashley
It’s such a beautiful state!
I love your posts like this one! The pictures are amazing. So beautiful and motivational. I hope I can travel to the mountains soon. Keep posting please!! xx
Thank you so much. So kind. ❤