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John Guilford's Hikes

Barclay and Eagle Lakes on 1991-08-17

Date: 1991-08-17

Location: Barclay and Eagle Lakes

People: (including myself): Don Mahnke

			My Alt.	Real Alt.
Start:		12:00	2200	2200
Barclay Lake:	12:50	2200	2422	2 miles
Start Up Slope:	1:10
Stone Lake	2:45	3700
Eagle Lake	3:15	3800	3888	3.5 miles
Leave Eagle Lk	4:00
Stone Lake	4:15
Barclay Lake	5:10
Down:		6:15
To get to the trailhead, drive 6 miles east of Index on Rt. 2 (where a sign indicates Baring).  Turn north and cross the railroad tracks.  Continue straight through the intersection and pick up forest service road 6024 (it bears left at the fork in the road.  Follow this to where is ends in about four and a half miles. 

The walk into Barclay lake is flat, easy, and very popular.  In addition to the lake (which was reasonably warm - for a Cascade lake) there are pools in the creek where people (and dogs) can be found swimming.  This time of year the trail was dry, but it looks like it can be pretty muddy in the spring.  When we got to the lake we found many campers around it as well as a few swimmers in it.  You get a nice view of the North wall of Baring Mtn, but the better views come higher up.  We didn't linger here very long, but continued on towards Eagle lake. 

At the far east end of Barclay lake (which was a big exposed mudflat) the trail takes a 90 degree left turn and immediately starts grinding up the hillside (the turn is clearly marked by stones placed in the shape of a 5 foot arrow).  Not only does the trail get very steep, the the quality of the trail is not nearly as good from here on.  A short way up the slope, my body informed me that it had used up my breakfast, and would appreciate more fuel for climbing the slope.  Thus we stopped for a few minutes while I ate my sandwich.  The insects weren't too bad.  There were flies which were annoying, but they weren't biting (much) and few mosquitos.  The only time the bugs became annoying was when you stopped for a while (in which case they'd congregate).  After the break we continued grinding up the hill.  Several times we lost the trail, and just continued upslope until we found it again.  Every so often, the trail is marked by a piece of orange tape.  You first go up through forest, then switch to going up through a boulder field.  Several times here you get a good view of Baring Mtn.  It finally starts to flatten out, and you think you are at the top, but not quite yet! You come to a small depression that is boggy.  For some reason (I never figured out why) there were pockets of significantly colder air there.  After continuing up another steep stretch you arrive at the lake. 

When we got there, I thought to myself, "Gee, I remember Eagle lake being bigger than this." There were a couple people fishing here, but that was all.  After checking the map, I realized that this was Stone Lake and not Eagle lake (I hadn't remembered that there were three lakes, not two on this hike).  After taking some pictures (which took a while, as the sun was playing hide-and-seek behind clouds), we continued on to Eagle lake.  By Stone lake you've made most of the altitude gain you need, and the walk to Eagle lake is relatively flat and easy.  The trail splits off a bit before Stone lake and skirts the left side of the lake (a little away from the lake).  You soon come to Paradise Meadows below Townsend Mtn.  Several places in the meadow were still muddy, and there are numerous very-small creeks running through the meadow.  Around this time we started hearing occasional claps of thunder from further into the mountains (although it was still sunny with big puffy clouds where we were - we did get a couple big drops of rain, but as there were no clouds over us, it must have blown from a cloud next to us).  After the meadows, a short walk through trees takes you to Eagle lake. 

There were a couple other groups (one of them pretty big) there already (swimming in the lake).  I couple guys had used on of the logs floating in the lake as a raft and had floated/swam it out to the far side of the lake.  We went over to the north side of the lake (to get away from the people) and had the rest of our lunch.  Across the lake is Merchant Peak which looked interesting, though difficult to climb from this side (Beckey recommends climbing from the other side - near the trail head - earlier in the year). 

After eating and taking some pictures we headed back down.  Finding the trail on the way down wasn't a problem, and we didn't lose it as we did on the way up.  On the way down the frequency of the thunder increased and the clouds built up a little, though it never looked like it was getting ready to storm near here.  I think the thunderheads were building further east in the mountains.  It really sounded like the gods were bowling in the heavens.  It was an ominous sound, and I was glad I wasn't planning on spending the night there. 

On the whole the hike is rather pleasant.  Going as far as Barclay lake is ideal for families with small children on a hot day.  You can go all the way to the lake, or stop earlier and swim in the creek.  Going on the Eagle Lake is more work, but it isn't that long, and should be okay for most people though you may want to go slow up the slope. 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015