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Friday, September 11, 2009

Adventure Report: Visiting the Noisy-Diobsud


Posted By: Beth Anderson, WWC Board Member
I spent the last weekend in August in one of the lesser-known wild areas in Washington state – the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness. The Noisy-Diobsud became a designated wilderness as part of the Washington Wilderness Act of 1984 and the area currently consists of 14,133 acres of wild lands within the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

After waking up to rain and clouds at our Seattle home, my husband and I picked up two friends and headed north via I-5, and eventually traveled east on Highway 20 to the Baker Lake Road, followed by nearly 8 miles on gravel to the Anderson-Watson Lakes trailhead.

As the trailhead neared the sun broke through the clouds, offering stunning views of Mount Baker even before the hike began. We started up the trail, the only maintained path into the
Noisy-Diobsud, which proceeds through lush forest for about one mile until breaking out into a lovely sloping meadow. There the spur to Anderson Butte (site of an long-since-demolished lookout) takes off to the left and the main trail ascends through the meadow.

Our hoped-for destination was a campsite on one of Watson Lakes, so we continued over the slight pass at the top of the meadow and down to the junction of the trails to Anderson and Watson Lakes. Anderson Lakes are accessed via the right fork, and that trail does not enter the designated wilderness.
Our group continued straight and entered the wilderness via the trail to Watson Lakes – the path switchbacks up and then back down into the Watson Lakes basin, reaching the first lake about a mile from the Anderson-Watson Lakes intersection. We followed an unmaintained trail around the first Watson Lake to the larger and slightly more spectacular second lake and found a campsite on a rocky outcrop along the shore.

We spent the rest of the afternoon admiring Mount Watson, climbing up a bit higher for views of Mount Shuksan, and enjoying the refreshing waters of Watson Lake. The following morning we took a bit more time to swim and eat berries from nearby bushes and then made our way back toward the trailhead. We dropped our overnight packs at the intersection for Anderson Butte and ate a late lunch on top of the butte (just inside the wilderness boundary), which provides incredible views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, the Picket Range, and the beautiful green valleys in between.

This hike provides a great introduction to wilderness for younger folks or a relaxing weekend trip for anyone who enjoys high mountain lakes and expansive views.

For more information about the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness, see the following link: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&sec=wildView&wname=Noisy-Diobsud%20Wilderness

Further details about the Anderson-Watson Lakes trail (#611) and the Anderson Butte trail (#611.1) can be found on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/recreation/trip-planning-baker-lake.shtml

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