Lake Of The Angels Via Putvin Trail

A very soggy day at the Lake Of The Angels

For this hike I asked a friend if he was interested in tagging along. He currently resides in California and I thought this would be a good opportunity for him to experience the wilder side of Washington. But in the Olympics that means almost constant cloudy and rainy days. The weather moves quick and it usually goes from bad to worse. People often forget that when you drive up in your car and park 3500 feet below your final hiking destination that the weather is different up top. A novel thing that is often overlooked.

And here it begins.
A very cool tree.
2 Miles straight up hill.
One of the very brief gentler sections of the trail. Cody decided this was our resting spot. My resting spot is usually at the top.
A little over half way done this point. This was the first time we broke out of the tree canopy.

It can be pleasant when you start out and miserable by the time you reach your destination and this was one of those days. The last quarter mile really took a turn for the worst. At this point I could sense Cody’s struggles and I asked how he was feeling. He was hurting, sore and wouldn’t have minded turning back. I really didn’t want to forgo yet another Olympic hike due to weather. But it wasn’t until we finally reached the lake that the weather took a turn and the wind really started picking up. The rain started going sideways. That’s when we found a tree shelter that had no doubt been used by an animal in the same situation.

The Shelter
Cody on the trail.
Cody about to ascend via a rope that some very nice individual was kind enough to leave for others. Thanks stranger!

In the shelter we took the opportunity to warm up a bit and eat a well deserved meal. I brought two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so we’d both have something filling up top. He brought along beef jerky. I also brought along extra clothes because I’ve been building up my experience and knew that surely some things would be missed. He was extremely grateful to have a dry shirt to climb into. Cody isn’t a very experienced hiker which I knew going into the hike. I still choose a hike rated as difficult because I like to test myself and I want to see what others are made of. I knew he could do this and it was rewarding to see him complete his toughest hike to date. The trail doesn’t discriminate, it’ll conquer the toughest souls if the mind and body isn’t where it needs to be.


This is the man who built this trail, Carl Putvin. I did not realize at the time of taking the photo but this is where his body was found in the snow. He was a trapper who died on his way back home after gathering supplies. Carl lived near the lake with his wife and toddler son. Unfortunately the information I was able to find on him was very limited. I would really like to know more about his life and how he ended up on the lake. It’s out in the middle of nowhere.

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