Annette Lake

Seattle residents will tell you that it isn't truly summer before the 4th of July, but it's only May and it feels positively like summer already.

And of course, I'm taking full advantage of the beautiful sunny weather to go on hikes around the region. Last weekend, I took a short jaunt out of the Seattle metro area along I-90.

I-90 is also known as the Mountains to Sound Greenway. It stretches from Seattle to its Eastern suburbs around the foothills of the Cascade mountain range, and winds up across Snoqualmie Pass all the way to the dry desert of Central Washington and beyond. Having lived in the East Coast where my notion of interstate was the busy, jam-packed I-95, I have to say that travelling along the I-90 is a real delight.

This time around, I didn't drive too far - in fact, my destination, the Annette Lake trailhead, was only about 45 minutes east of downtown Bellevue, where I live.

Annette Lake is about an 8-mile roundtrip hike. Just a short walk in from the trailhead, there's a small but gorgeous waterfall. It's loud enough to drown out the sound of cars (the trailhead is very close to the I-90 exit) and a great touch-point to reconnect to nature.

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The first couple of miles it's largely elevation gain through forest and a short stretch of exposed hillside under power lines (you can actually hear a faint buzzing sound from the power lines at that stretch). 

It's a very well-maintained trail and although it can get busy (I encountered a group of people every 5-10 minutes on the trail, and the parking lot was overflowing at the trail-head), it's still a great hike out in the woods.

You can see how well maintained this trail is by this large log that is used as a footbridge. Steps have been carved in for greater support and balance.

You can see how well maintained this trail is by this large log that is used as a footbridge. Steps have been carved in for greater support and balance.

I hiked across cascading streams and stepped past mossy rocks. 

I hiked across cascading streams and stepped past mossy rocks. 

Past the halfway mark, the trail becomes more gentle and occasionally skirts exposed mountainside, offering glimpses of tall trees and other peaks.

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Occasional wildflowers along the trail add a splash of color.

I hiked pretty quickly and only after about an hour and fifteen minutes in, I reached the lake.

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Someone's dog was paddling about in the lake. It was such a cute sight, I had to stop and snap a photo. Moments later, the dog reached the shore and proceeded to shake herself dry (and got quite a bit of water onto me in the process!)

Someone's dog was paddling about in the lake. It was such a cute sight, I had to stop and snap a photo. Moments later, the dog reached the shore and proceeded to shake herself dry (and got quite a bit of water onto me in the process!)

It's a nice lake, but as far as lakes go, this isn't the prettiest (check out Colchuck Lake) and there wasn't a large clearing to rest by the shore, so I took in the view and rested for several minutes before resuming my hike back to the trail-head.

When I hike, the destination doesn't matter as much as the journey. And so I came away feeling like it was a very enjoyable and quick jaunt away from the city on a sunny Sunday afternoon. On a long summer's day, you might even be able to hike this trail after work if you're a fast enough hiker!