Williamson lake trail:
total distance - 4.8km (by GPS)
elevation gain - 506m
high point - 1654m
Yep, itís a hike with kids again. Well, what can I do, if my husband went to climb Sky Pilot, the brats are too young to be left at home alone, and my idea of a good weekend entertainment is going hiking, preferably high in the mountains. I have to drag them with me.
We didnít have the whole day, so, I chose, as I thought, an ideal option - Williamson lake trail. It is a short trail through alpine meadows to a turquoise alpine lake below Welch and Foley peaks in Chilliwack river valley. The only problem with this trail is an access road. Two years ago, when we were there for the first time, the road was pretty rough. Deactivated forest roads rarely get better with time. So, it was only expected that road condition got worse. I didnít feel confident driving there with kids alone. Luckily a friend of mine was looking of the same kind of activity for his child. So, on Saturday morning they picked us up and we drove to Chilliwack river valley.
The approach road to the trailhead is Foley creek FSR. The beginning part of that road is ok. Itís severely potholed, but is drivable in any car as far as Foley lake. Just take it slow. Past the lake road condition deteriorates. Well, I think ďdeterioratesĒ is an understatement. The road becomes awful, plain horrible. There is a minor washout above the lake and cross ditches up to the trailhead. Those cross ditches are enormous, deep and wide, can swallow some cars whole. Past the Foley creek bridge road becomes steep and overgrown, say bye-bye to the paint on your car. All of the trail description I read, mentioned a gate, which could be closed at any time. Well, worry no more, there are trees practically growing through that gate. There is no danger of it being unexpectedly closed.
One of the cross ditches was eroded pretty badly. We found a Suzuky Grand Vitara parked before it. I guess, they didnít make it over the ditch. We didnít make it at the first attempt either. But 4x4 in low gear and diff lock did the trick. We slowly crawled up the darn road, wincing every time a branch scraped the paint with especially atrocious squeaky sound. When we reached an open area and the grade eased off, I relaxed a bit, but a tad too soon. There was a small rockslide ahead of us. Well, not the pile of rocks itself, it was cleared out, but the remnants of a slide - a large boulder occupying a part of the road, leaving just enough room for one car to squeeze by and a short stretch of narrow unstable crumbling road bed. Oh, I got sweaty just by riding the car in a passenger seat. No wonder there were not many cars in the parking lot. Just us and a silver Nissan XTerra.
Welch and Foley peaks. Williamson lake lies on a bench below those peaks.
Trail begins at the old clearcut and winds through berry bushes, stinging nettles and fireweed sometimes crossing, sometimes following dry creekbeds. There are a lot of bear signs in that lower part of the trail. Then trail goes into the forest and ascents in short switch-backs to the ridge top, follows the ridge a bit and then emerges from the forest onto alpine meadows, traverses the meadows, then steeply climbs straight to the lake. Trailbed is covered in loose dirt with small rocks making it very slippery, making a hike quite unpleasant.
But the views around compensate for trail conditions.
View South. It is still a bit hazy, only Williams Ridge is visible.
Alpine meadows are still flowering, but the blooming season is coming to an end. Below 1600m itís mostly Fireweed and Indian Paintbrush that are still in bloom. Above 1600m there are some lupins and other kinds of flowers which I donít know.
The lake is split in two by a rocky spit. I guess, it was a rock slide that created this separation. Small lake.
I planned to swim in the lake and sunbath on the lakeshore, expecting a hot sunny weather. But contrary to my expectations it was rather chilly. But children changed into bathing suites anyway, went into the lake knee deep, but didnít swim.
Beach recreation our family style. By the way, it was not a set up. She stretched on that rock pretending it was a lounge chair.
Small waterfall at the lakeís outlet.
Small lake, view from the outlet.
Flowers, donít know the name.
Small lake, view from the other side.
There were no other people on the lake or on the trail besides us. I guess, the people, who left those two cars on the road and parking lot, went climbing to Welch or Foley.
We had lunch at the lake and headed back to the car.
Driving down the roughest part of the road went easier, than driving up. The moment I relaxed again a bunch of dirt-bikers suddenly jumped from behind a curve. They didnít expect to see us too. We were this close to colliding with the first biker, but thanks God to quick reaction on both sides, the accident was avoided. On this positive note Iíll finish my trip report about our trip to Williamson lake.
Iím not going back on that freaking road any time soon, unless I drive ATV or the road is magically fixed.