Blanca Lake Trail: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Okay, so the Blanca Lake Trail. Lets get one thing straight here. In NO way, by any means, do I consider myself an "advanced" hiker. Do I hike often? No. Would I normally volunteer myself to the mercy of a hike that lasted 10 hours? Also no. Do I suggest saying "yes" to new adventures with your girlfriends? Yes. Do I suggest making rash decisions post breakup for breathtaking instagram photos to make you seem like everything is fine? Also yes. 

I can only speak for myself but if I'm doing something new or traveling somewhere I've never been, I want to look like I belong there.  *goes on Amazon to see what hiking accessories/essentials I need. Bear trap? I mean, sounds legit.

My girlfriend Melissa (Hi Mel) and I decided to go on this adventure in September! I don't recommend going anytime after September unless you like climbing switch backs (had to google that before the hike) in the mud or snow. Blanca Lake is located in Snohomish County, Washington.  So it was a little bit of a trek from Seattle! We got on the road around 6:30am because we wanted to be able to start this torture by 8:00am! Our only goals at this point were 1. go through with it and 2. get back to our car before dark. This trail is only supposed to be roughly a 10 mile hike – but somebody is liar.  The trailhead is closed!  Apparently there was a storm that washed out the road on the way in, so your only option is to park 2 miles down the road and get your extra steps in.  No biggie, just add on another 4 miles to this already insane day that was about to happen. 

The beginning of our hike started off in the most beautiful forest. In the happy start to a horror movie kind of way. The trail is quiet and peaceful! We read that it's a heavily trafficked trail and to expect to share the journey with other hikers! It was literally just us. Which was a positive thing because we probably tripped on overgrown tree roots while complaining about our thighs burning an embarrassing amount of times.  

 We gained over 3,000ft in elevation in 2 miles.  I've never felt this kind of exhaustion before. We could barely catch our breath and stopped every couple switchbacks. This was definitely the worst part of the hike.  I wanted to give up and I felt like my legs already did.  Cool, only 9 more hours to go! But first- snack time.  This is when Melissa decided to inhale a large piece of an apple slice and choke.  Really, Mel? You're going to decide to choke on an apple when I have no wifi? How am I supposed to get on youtube or WebMD? My life saving skills are just not up to par at the moment. Can you breathe? Thanks. What's a little 14 mile hike without somebody almost dying 3-7 times. 

Ahhh yes, finally. We make it to the top of the trail ridge. where the trail levels out into the meadows. There are beautiful flowers everywhere. Melissa even convinced me to eat berries off of a bush. Looking back, probably not the best idea. We finally see water! But this is not what we hiked for. Thankfully we made it to Virgin Lake. Which is swampy brown, stagnant, and disappointing! We see a hiker and he promises us that  we are HALF WAY there and that the hardest part is well behind us! Also a lie. 

The trail drops in elevation- fast. All of a sudden we are climbing down giant boulders, slipping down muddy hills, and working our way around STEEP curves. But then, alas...the breathtaking Blanca Lake. The light at the end of the tunnel. The lake of my dreams. The color of this water is like if Jesus had a baby with the color green. Lets also point out that glacier water never feels warm. Not even after sweating for 5 hours in brand new Lululemon. Naturally we brought pool floaties because what is a painful adventure without an instagram worthy photo. Note- be prepared when your raft pops on a tree branch in the lake. You will try to get out fast by climbing on the other tree branches that are in the water, but you will slip and you will fall back into said freezing water. 

When I say that this is the most humbling experience of my life, I am not exaggerating. The fact that we made it back to the car at sunset with only a few pulled muscles, 7 cuts and no broken bones is actually unbelievable. Would I recommend this adventure? Yes. Bring plenty of food, and more water than you think you would need. Would I ever do this again? Probably not. Was the juice worth the squeeze? Abso-fucking-lutely. Blanca Lake was worth the sweat, bruises, and sore legs! Just don't ask me to do it again.