Lena Mt. Lena, Upper Lena Lake, and surrounding areas...
June 2007: A Climb of Mt. Lena
Winter Wren This Winter Wren furiously protested my ascent up the Lena Lake trail. My guess was that a fledgling was hiding nearby, and this adult was trying to distract my attention. These birds are tiny - only a few inches from bill to up-turned tail, but they have one of the loudest and most intricate songs in the forest - a bubbling series of high-pitched chirps and warbles.
Blowdowns on Upper Lena Lake Trail The forest trail from Lower Lena Lake to Upper Lena Lake got battered over the winter by both wind and avalanches. A number of giant trees had fallen in haphazard fashion along the trail. Here, Dominique and Steve - a couple fellow hikers I met along the way - pick their way through a tangle of branches. It's going to take quite a bit of work to get the trail back in prime shape.
On the ridge of Mt. Lena After a brief rest at Upper Lena Lake, I headed up the snowy slopes of Mt. Lena. I first headed around the shore of the lake, then took a hard right turn uphill across the southern slop of Mt. Lena. I finally ascended the eastern ridge, seen here. When I got to the top, I wasn't immediately sure if I'd climbed the correct peak - another summit a few hundred yards to the west looked nearly as high (5,990ft). But, a USGS benchmark on top seemed to confirm my choice... I'm not sure why they put USGS benchmarks on the tops of peaks - it's not like mountaintops need further identification. My guess is that it was a good excuse for someone to get paid to climb up mountains. Good work if you can get it!
Constance To the north, the peaks of Inner Constance (left) and Mt. Constance (right) were clearly visible. Mt. Constance is one of the higher peaks in the Olympic Mountains, and very prominent when viewed from Seattle.
Fungiberries These aren't blueberries. These blue bells, about a millimeter in diameter, were growing out the side of a rock near the summit of Mt. Lena. I'm guessing they were the spore of some type of lichen. The world is a bizarre place on the tiniest scales.
On top of Mt. Lena After getting to the top, I melted some snow for drinking water. Mt. Stone and Mt. Skokomish are in the distance.
View westward over the Olympics The setting sun gave the western sky a pinkish glow. I believe Chimney Peak is the high point seen on the horizon here, but with so many mountains around, it was a little difficult to identify them.
The Brothers in silhouette There are few things that compare with waking up at the top of a precipice to the rising sun. Here, the twin peak of The Brothers is in silhouette.
November 2002: Overnight at Upper Lena Lake
Cold Morning This is a view of Upper Lena Lake & Mt. Bretherton. I camped in the trees on the other side of the lake, to the left of this photo. It snowed about 2 inches overnight.
Frosty I believe these are red elderberries.
Another view over Upper Lena Lake Upper Lena Lake was just starting to freeze... Winter has been a little slow in coming this year in the Pacific NW. We had the 4th driest November on record this year.
View over Upper Lena Lake Why would I choose to hike 7 miles in the rain and sleet & spend a night in blowing snow when I have a perfectly good warm bed at home? It's to witness and capture moments like this one at Upper Lena Lake in the morning.
Where is it? Upper and Lower Lena Lakes are in the south part of the Olympic Mtn Range. The trailhead is along Hamma Hamma River road, about 9 miles west of US101. The climbing route to The Brothers also starts at this trailhead, and passes Lower Lena Lake.
Before you go... You'll need a NW Forest Pass to park at the trailhead. Lower Lena Lake is quite popular, so don't expect to find any solitude there.