The summer solstice strikes each year between June 20th and June 22nd, and much like the “death eaters” are called to their master once the magical tattoo is awakened, the Washingtonian backpackers are summoned once again into the mountains. (Harry Potter fans, anyone?)
We were blessed in 2019 (sorry, I’m still catching up on old hikes) with a forecast of a couple of beautiful days, instead of the June gloom that usually welcomes us on the the solstice. Though, June’s snowline was still low enough to rule out all the “good” backpack options. (Which is usually the case into at least early July.)
There’s not a lot of talk about Lake Dorothy – or at least it’s not a destination that has popped up on my “must do” radar. But it came up in my searches for June hikes, and I also found it in my 1968 addition of “100 Hikes in Western Washington.” (Under “Snoqualmie Lake” – which you’ll eventually get to if you keep going.) I did notice that none of these lakes made the cut for the newer 1998 publication, “100 Classic Hikes in Washington” (which I also have, and you should too) furthering my conclusion that this area must be sub-par.
But beggars can’t be choosers, and Melissa and I were WAY overdue for a trip together, so we set out with open minds to what Lake Dorothy – or beyond – would have in store.
Besides an easy drive to get there, a huge parking lot with decent bathrooms available were also making Lake Dorothy look better by the minute. We enjoyed our walk together (even if Mel had to continually stop to wait for me) and before you knew it, our almost 2 miles were done and we were there. Knowing we could push on to Bear Lake (and then Deer, before hitting Snoqualmie) and hearing other’s complaints about how bad the mosquitoes had been overnight at Dorothy, we decided to venture further. It’s only another couple miles, but they are much harder with 700 feet in elevation, so as soon as we saw Bear Lake, it was looking good enough.
It feels like another mile to actually get down to the lake, but it was worth the effort to pass on the first small campsite we came to before making the descent. And we were really glad we passed on Lake Dorothy, as for whatever reason, we didn’t find the bugs to be a problem at all at Bear.
I will be the first to confess confusion over what is legal when it comes to making a campfire, so I will claim the fifth in regards to whether we made one or not. What I will say is that IF you can make a legal fire, and you find everything is wet AF, these fire starters are AMAZING and can make it happen regardless.
Obviously, I was very wrong about this area being in anyway an inferior hiking destination, and I’m not worried that in writing this it will suddenly become overcrowded, because I now know it has always been far more popular than I had realized. In conclusion, I will encourage us all that we need to do our best to take care of our precious hiking areas, to never leave trash, and if you do make a fire, do so as carefully and wisely as possible, using only what is already on the ground. Not that we did that, I’m just sayin’. 😉 Happy trails!