hidden lake trail

Cup of Coffee: The July Photo of the Month


Hidden Lake Trail, North Cascades National Park, WA

Written and Photographed by Back 40 Outfitters Trail Team Members

The understated photo title, Cup of Coffee, is a play on the powerful and in your face color from the sunset this particular evening on the rooftop of the North Cascades.  My father and I had decided to take a special trip away from the hustle and bustle, visiting the site of my very first backpacking trip 15 years ago: Hidden Lake Trail. The trip served a dual purpose: quality time with my dad and testing out the equipment in our Back 40 Outfitters backpacking kit.

Holding a wealth of treasures at the end of the trail, Hidden Lake rewards all travelers who brave the switchbacking 3,000 foot trek through a gorgeous green avalanche chute. Most visitors enjoy the view from the fire lookout, while overnighters drop over the saddle into the North Cascades National Park glacial cirque that holds the cobalt blue water of the lake. From this vantage point, Hidden Lake resembles an infinitely pool poised to cascade off its eastern-most shoulder.  We prefer a secluded campsite, perched above the lake to the west with the lookout’s rocky spire looming above. Here, a couple steps in any direction give you a 360-degree view of the granite sentinels that surround you. 

After breezing through camp set-up and scrambling to scout the views, we made dinner and found our water source: a trickle of melting snow water on the snowfield below our site. It was interesting to see  how the flow of water changed depending on ambient temperature and sun exposure. Evidence: an overnight chill and absence of sun on the west slope had shrunk our water source to slow drip for breakfast.

Finally, the moment that launched my dad’s outdoor modeling career. After dinner we  heated leftover water for some coffee to warm up before tucking in for the night. As the August sky began to change color, I hustled to capture the scene and my dad unknowingly climbed himself into the frame. Since the trip, we’ve made a few prints of this shot that now decorate our households and workplace, visual evidence of this awesome trip.  The sunset and scenery are truly impressive, but what I love most about this photo is way it captures my dad in his element and reminds me of the impact of his adventuresome spirit on my life.

This photo was captured by Back 40 Outfitters Trail Team member Nate and edited by their staff photographer Eunice Lommen.

Back 40 Outfitters is an outdoor gear rental & events company based in Seattle that specializes in backpacking, car-camping, and concert gear kits. Our service takes all the roadblocks out of camping (we even help brainstorm trip planning) by offering complete equipment packages and a convenient delivery model. They can’t wait to help get you out  on adventures like this one. Find them at www.back40outfitters.co and follow their adventures on Instagram @back40outfitters.