This was a backpacking trip, so in addition to the appropriate clothing and good hiking boots, we carried our tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, stove, etc. - everything you need to live in the back country. It was not a terribly difficult hike (at age 65 next week, that's a good thing), but still there was 600 feet of vertical required. If that figure doesn't mean anything to you, just imagine hiking up the stairs of a 60-story building, carrying that 40 lb pack on your back. Vigorous - that's the word for it.
But the best hikes are like that. If they are easy to achieve, then they are crowded, and sadly they are most likely despoiled. The ones that are worth going to are the ones that need to be earned.
This was one of those. And it was indeed worth it. Anderson Lake sits in a close little cirque at about 4450 feet - high enough that the snow hasn't been off it for very long. And that perfect little mountain lake is surrounded on three sides by towering rock walls. The floor of the cirque is a meadow, covered with grass, moss, patches of heather, and the occasional towering old growth alpine fir. There is a small creek which drains the lake - it chuckled at us while we slept.
It is not hard to imagine that this is a place where God comes to contemplate the grandeur of His creation.
The cathedrals built by man are spectacular achievements... but none holds a candle to this.
Fun fact: Mount Baker holds the world record for annual snowfall: 2896cm in the winter of 1998-1999.