Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene Trail

— the longest I've spent without lunch

worth the work

“Should we sign in?”

My husband asked at the trailhead.

“No, this will be easy. We won’t get lost and it’ll be over quickly.”

I should have signed in. There were moments I thought I’d never make it back.

While I’m aware how little I move daily, I don’t ever think I can’t handle physical activity.

Reading reviews of Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene trail, I expected the hike to take 4 or 5 hours. Others took 3.

We came back after 7.

view from Bridal Veil Falls looking up at the falls, views in all directions

The hike to Bridal Veil Falls was easy. We got there fast and the payoff for the amount of exercise wasn’t bad.

‘Lake Serene should be the same.’

The trail started out by going downhill. ‘Where is this lake anyway?’ Later I realized Lake Serene is at the top of the mountain, above the water falls. I didn’t realize how high the mountain was, and while the trail began with a slope down, we eventually had to climb all the way to the top.

There were so many stairs, so many moments where my legs felt like lead. On our way up, my husband and I made a long stop to rest.

“We have to be almost there! How much further can this hike go? The peak is right over there!”

sheets of water and unmelted snow on the lake

Unfortunately, we were only halfway there.

I couldn’t turn back–I worked so hard. I’ve never physically worked that hard in a while, there was no way I wasn’t going to get my reward.

So we continued, taking a lot of breaks while heading up. There were other hikers we’d meet on the trail, they’d pass us, then we’d pass them. Everyone was taking breaks to catch their breath.

The last quarter of the trail gave us views of the entire valley. I’ve never been at that altitude, but from our vantage point we could see all the hikes we’ve done in the area. We could also spot endless layers of mountains in the distance with snow covered peaks.

I started to get cold. Completely drenched in sweat, I wished I had brought another jacket, one that was dry. Would I be able to stay and enjoy the lake? It’d be too chilly. I’ve been sick for most of summer, really didn’t feel like getting sick again.

As we got closer, we passed a couple hikers who encouraged us to keep going–“just one mile left!”

came across a prettier waterfall on the way to Lake Serene

‘Yes!!! Just one mile…’

They were joking. Five steps further we saw the lake. I didn’t know how to feel. I was confused, delirious. Looking into the teal waters, I couldn’t believe it.

As I slowly realized that I’d made it, I started to panic. ‘How am I going to get down?’ We sat on a steep boulder looking over the water. There was snow. As a bit of ice collapsed we heard a grand echo from the stone wall. The lake is tucked into the peak, an insulated space warmer than the trail. There were mosquitos.

My husband spotted fish in the water. No one was fishing here. Perfect spot.

Going back, my calves trembled and my legs were so tired that I started tripping. There are many sharp rocks on the trail and it’s quite steep–I saw how dangerous it could be.

hiking lake serene trail

We took our time heading down. I couldn’t believe how long it took to get to the car.

But… we made it!

Super hungry, we ordered Papa John’s. The garlic sauce was cleaned within minutes.

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