In the mid 1990’s my parents contracted with the U.S. Forest Service, to build the main hiking trail to Lake Serene, Washington. In the shadow of Mt. Index, the spectacular views leave a lasting impression. Remembering myself as a 12 year old, the majesty of the Cascade Mountain Range thundered through that boy’s body. Our family will forever be connected to that beautiful, ancient forest, deep blue lake, rugged mountain range and the local people we met throughout our project there.
Through torrential rain storms, we lived in a small trailer and VW camping van at the end of a 2 mile bumpy driveway. Past where the public could park, we commuted on foot a ½ mile to the trailhead each day for work. I slept in our VW, while my mom and dad shared the trailer. I remember most was the sound of the intense rain, thundering down on our trailer, while the mist swirled around the tall evergreen trees. When the rain stopped the forest smells came alive, tantalizing our senses. To this day, I am in love with the smell of rain.
The Lake Serene Trail was completed over 4 trail building seasons or 3 ½ years. Our team of family and friends built 2.5 miles of new trail with 1500 feet elevation gain. My parents, with the help of family and friends constructed an extensive network of 500 wooden stairs, custom cut cedar boardwalks and a 60 foot steel I-beam bridge flown in pieces with a large Chinook double prop helicopter. Daily blasting carved the ribbon of trail winding through the devil’s club entwined boulders and bedrock of the mountain.
For our family and friends that helped build this trail, the physical exertion needed to complete this project was huge. Knowing that the area is well loved by thousands of hikers annually is a quiet compliment to the designers, the US. Forest Service and the people that helped us build the trail. What I remember most as a 12 year old boy are the months of rain, clouds of bugs and quality time spent with my mom and dad in one of the prettiest corners of Washington State.