Almost Williwaw Lakes (June 4-5, 2022)


Lydia and I departed the Glen Alps trailhead’s lower parking lot after lunch. The goal was for this to be a “no lunch” overnighter where we’d go in after lunch and be home before lunch the next day. In between, we hoped to visit the Williwaw Lakes in a nearby glacial valley.

The Glen Alps trailhead is popular as it’s the easiest access to the Powerline Pass Trail which is a wide multiuse trail which serves as a destination in its own right but also a major connector of other trails. Our travel crossed this quickly, heading north across the valley bottom, then north-northwest to a parallel valley.

Looking back towards the Glen Alps TH. Powerline Pass Trail runs on the far side.

Turning up the Williwaw Lakes trail took us off the bikeable tread and onto a trail which rose slowly with the valley, staying on its south side slightly above the valley floor. It’s still early season and so the there were several muddy sections. At one point a lady with a dog told us she’d chosen to “get prickly” instead of pass through waist high water. The first place we encountered which might have matched that description was so easy to bypass, we hoped she had simply been hyperbolic. The second was a pond which had formed on the trail but had a social trail bypassing it. The third was waist deep water and the bypass trail was so overgrown that it stole a water bottle from Lydia’s pack. We thought that must have been what the lady was referring to until we came across an equally deep pond filling in a dip in the trail with no major social trail to bypass. That was a little prickly to get around and the ground was large rocks with a thin layer of dead leaves which didn’t make for good footing while trying to contort yourself between stunted trees. At least there weren’t thorns.

The trail forms a low point so the melt water hangs out there. The bypass to the right stole a water bottle out of a pack.

Then it started to rain. The rain brought out the intensity of the greens which are a hallmark of early season. The trail went up onto a low bench on the south side of the valley. The clouds were moving and so at times we got rained on while it was still sunny. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any rainbows.

Hard to believe it was just raining.

In the end we stopped just short of the Williwaw Lakes. The valley near their outlet stream was beautiful and open. The area is deceptive in that what looks like flat, level ground is actually quite lumpy and subtly sloped on closer inspection. A quick walk to the lakes revealed no level ground which wasn’t sodden or snow covered. There were tents on the north side of the stream but we weren’t up for getting our feet (and knees) wet just to share a campsite. So… we almost made it to the Williwaw Lakes.

Upper Williwaw Lake. We coulda made it work I guess.


We tried to have a lazy morning. The sun is up so early this far north that any time you wake up seems like you’ve slept in late because it’s so bright.

Packing up to go. A good home for the night.

The way out was a little less adventurous as we knew what to expect. We even found the water bottle lost which had been stolen by on our bushwhack. Some mind soul had placed it on a rock by the start of the bypass trail.

We also saw mountain goats. They were far away, high on the north slope of the valley and initially they like small snow patches which were moving. Binoculars came out. By the end of the trip we (ie Lydia who is better at these things) had spotted 19.

We made it home in time for a late lunch with that perfect level of hunger which leaves a strong desire for a particular dish without being overpowering, becoming generalized hunger pangs, or leaving you weak. It was a good lunch.

All pics

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