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Well Amber and I had separate adventures this week. She climbed into the Gothic Basin off the Mountain Loop Highway on the west side of the state and I soloed into Lake Janus just on the east side of Stevens pass to search for some late season trout. I got a fairly early start, hitting the trail by 8:30. The drive in from Highway 2 was a little frustrating. The Smith Brook road is extremely popular with novice hikers and the trail head always gets packed with the cars of people looking more correctly prepared for a day picnicking in the park than taking a hike on a backcountry trail. Their back road driving skills usually reflect their trail experience and I wound up in a caravan of little city cars being lead by a gigantic 4 wheel drive truck that looked like it had never seen a week without a trip to the car wash. When we hit the parking area I was out of my rig, had my pack on and was signing the trailhead log book before most of them were out of their Subarus and Priuses. I hit the trail hard because I wanted to get into the lake. I did the 3.6 mile, 1550 feet of elevation gain trek in an hour and 5 minutes! I was feeling good. Amber and I had explored this lake a couple of weeks earlier and I knew where I wanted to look for the best fishing spot. I worked my way around the opposite way we had gone last time. Continue reading →