Nada Lake

Snow Lakes ~ Trail No. 1553

November 1 -2, 2008      My friend, a kindred backpacking spirit from Missouri, had never been to Leavenworth, and I was eager to show off beautiful Nada and Snow Lakes.   It was cool and foggy when we left the Snow Lakes trailhead, and the mountains were hidden by the fog.  I hadnít hiked this trail in the fall before, and I was totally unprepared for the mass of fall color that carpeted the burn area and made this a memorable hike.

Light rain fell off and on from the time we left the trailhead until we reached Nada Lake, where a few gold larches stood out in the otherwise green forest.  It was still early, so we decided to continue up the trail and camp at upper Snow Lake.  As we crossed the dam between the Snow Lakes, however, a gust of wind threatened to sweep us off our feet.  The wind was fierce and the waters of upper Snow Lake were whipped into a frenzy.  I half expected to see goblins dancing beside the lake and gnarled gnomes blocking entrance into the Enchantments.  The mythical creatures did not materialize, but the weather conditions were severe.  We retreated to the relative calm of Nada Lake to set up our tents for the night. 

The night was long and rainy.  It was dark by 6:00 p.m. and didn't get light until after 7:00 a.m.   Morning brought a few light showers, interspersed with patches of blue sky.   We broke camp after breakfast and headed back down to the trailhead.  The weather conditions improved rapidly, and we encountered many people who were hiking up to the lakes.  The mountains were visible by the time we reached the trailhead, and the sun was shining by the time we reached Leavenworth. 

13 1/2 miles roundtrip

4200' elevation gain