A couple years ago, I found out about this absolutely incredible corner of Washington state called the Alpine Lakes Wilderness...and in 2020 I hiked here for the first time. When I first saw this particular hike, which I'm not naming due to serious overcrowding concerns, I didn't think I'd ever be able to do it. At the time I was only day hiking, and the climb to get here is 20 miles with 4,500ft elevation change...plus another three miles and 1,000 additional feet if you want to get everything. When I got setup for backpacking this year, I knew I had to come here. I had aimed to come here in late July or early August but Washington state weather did not cooperate -- I was prevented by rain three weekends and smoke one weekend. Finally, the last weekend in August turned out absolutely perfect. It rained Thursday night, and Friday was clearing but still cloudy so there weren't as many other hikers. I captured some incredibly misty views all the way up and had my pick of the best campsites right on the incredible emerald colored lake that was my goal. I've seen water that color in a few places, mainly Canada...but never quite like this in the Pacific Northwest. It literally didn't even feel real. The colors you see below are true and completely real. The rest of the weekend was crystal clear with absolutely perfect views. It was a tough climb, and by Saturday night quite crowded but so, so worth every step.