TANK LAKES Autumn Overnight
Route: Necklace Valley (trail)

TR #: 75

Category: Washington (HWY 2)       Elev: ~5,800 ft

Partner: Sue Abegg

Although I don't often include non-climbs on my webpage trip reports, the Tank Lakes area is deserving of a page. On this weekend overnight, my mom and I hiked up to Tank Lakes to enjoy the autumn colors and beautiful October lighting. An arctic system had moved in bringing bringing frigid winds and sub-freezing temperatures, but this created clear skies for some night photography and helped keep me awake at night to take photos. The following page gives several photos from our fun weekend overnight. Hiking with my mom is always a special and enjoyable experience.

Painting by Canadian artist Gary Fox, inspired by one of my photos taken on this trip.

The Lakes Then and Now
Some Panoramas I took
Tank Lakes in August 1982 (taken by my parents), in August 2006 (taken on a family backpacking trip), and in October 2009 (taken on this trip). The glaciers on Chimney and Overcoat have changed more than the trees have!
Getting There
Tank Lakes is in the Alpine Lakes wilderness. There is no maintained trail to Tank Lakes, but the lakes can be reached via easy cross-country from a few different directions. This area is often passed by parties doing variations of the (1) Alpine Lakes High Route, in which case the approach typically starts on the Lake Dorothy Trail off the Miller River Road off HWY 2 and comes up to Tank Lakes after Chetwood Lake and Iron Cap Pass. Two popular one-day approaches are (2) via Necklace Valley on the East Fork Foss River Trail off of the Foss River Road off of HWY 2 and (3) via the Dutch Miller Trail off of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road off I-90.

(More complete route details are given in my Feb 2010 trip report for Tank Lakes.)

Photo Trip Report

Afternoon and Evening at the Lakes
(Click on images to enlarge)
A cold autumn view of Summit Chief, Chimney, and Overcoat across the valley with a fresh dusting of snow.
Another cold autumn view across the largest of the Tank Lakes.
Exploring the beautiful plateau. I love the autumn lighting.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Exploring the beautiful plateau.
Sunset over Iron Cap Mtn and our bivy sacs on the granite slabs.

Night Photography at the Lakes
(Click on images to enlarge)
Star trails and twilight above Chimney and Overcoat.
(6 min, f 10.0, ISO 100)
Colorful star trails above the bivy sacs, with a faint glow of the Milky Way.
(16 min, f 7.1, ISO 400)
Moonlight and star trails.
(7 min, f 8.0, ISO 400)
Moonlight and star trails.
(15 min, f 8.0, ISO 400)

Morning at the Lakes
(Click on images to enlarge)
Sunrise on Chimney and Overcoat from our camp.
Difficult to leave this place to go back to problem sets and text books....

Autumn colors and ice formations
(Click on images to enlarge)
A tunnel of brilliant leaves on the trail.
Cool ice formations.
Red hucklemberry leaves growing in a handcrack.
Finger-like ice formations.
4 trees.
More ice formations.
And more.
A shelter in Necklace Valley surrounded by autumn colors.
More autumn brilliance.
And more.

**Click here to see my trip report for a spectacular wintertime snowshoe to Tank Lakes in Feb 2010.